Jessica Tabinor Vital Rail
As the UK’s number one technical recruiter, Morson International plays a leading role in sourcing the skills required by infrastructure employers. Working in unison with sister companies Morson Vital Training and Vital Human Resources, the Morson Group has a long history of successfully delivering white and blue-collar talent with the right capabilities and skillsets and upskilling the next generation of technical professionals.
There is an ongoing discussion in the industry relating to the skills gap an how we need to strengthen our UK skills base through apprenticeships, diversity and social engagement. HS2 Ltd’s strategic objectives in relation to skills provide a structure for mitigating this gap, however, there are still challenges associated with achieving all of the targets set. To understand these challenges, we hosted a roundtable event held at the National College High-Speed Rail (NCHSR’s) Birmingham Campus, which brought together representatives from the Morson Group, HS2 Ltd and the supply chain to discuss the issues and opportunities around training, apprenticeships, collaboration, Government policy and more.
We take a closer look at some of our findings surrounding career development within rail:
Career development initiatives to encourage existing workforces to upskill and attract transferable skills from other sectors was another highly attractive option raised during the roundtable as a way to boost labour levels and find talent that can hit the ground running.
Making a bold career change can seem daunting, but there is a growing trend of people who are turning their back on established careers in order to pursue a lifelong passion within a completely new industry.
Problem-solving and practical hands-on working are all transferable skills and attributes that make a successful engineer. But whilst there’s far less stigma around career switching, there are still a number of barriers that hold people back from making a mid-career transition, in particular, the financial strains, which is a major issue for those with families.
There are potential candidates already working in the UK labour market that could help to plug the medium-term skills gap by using transferable skills to adapt to working in an engineering/technical environment. These candidates effectively retrain in the skills needed for HS2 and are able to realise significant career development opportunities, as well as financial opportunities from the lucrative salaries that can be achieved in the sector.
Presentations from Neil Brayshaw, director of technical training at NCHSR and Neil Roberston, chief executive of NSAR, revealed the upcoming shortfalls in the industry due to varying social and economic factors.
More support and focus is needed from the Government to help engage and train these individuals. A campaign to raise awareness and educate potential candidates about the career opportunities within the sector and specifically HS2 will be launched.
This targeted approach will be combined with ongoing Government lobbying to identify and legislate new ways of funding mid-career transitions with financial incentives that encourage active career switching.