Free railway track maintenance course
By Sarah Wood
Gloucestershire College and Betaris Training are set to 'train' the next generation of skilled railway workers with a free course in rail track maintenance starting next week (Monday 15th March).
Available in Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean, the Level 2 course, which is equivalent to five GCSEs at grade A-C, is open to anyone aged 19 to 23 with previous Level 2 qualifications, or those aged 24 and above with no previous qualifications, who are either unemployed or in receipt of a low income.
Taking place Monday to Friday over the next nine weeks, the course will cover knowledge and practical skills relating to a rail maintenance role. The course has been developed to meet the needs of the rail engineering sector.
Demand for skilled workers in the industry is set to soar in light of the announcement of multiple major rail infrastructure projects across the UK, as well as concerns over the loss of skills faced by the industry over the next few years due to its aging workforce.
Estimates suggest that 28 per cent of current rail industry employees are aged over 50 and City & Guilds predicts that an additional 120,000 people will be required in the sector over the next five to ten years to fulfil the requirements of upcoming schemes.
On successful completion of this course, learners will achieve their City & Guilds Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Rail Engineering Track Maintenance, Certificate in Rail Engineering Underpinning Knowledge and Safety Critical Training.
Every learner who completes the course will have a sponsor employer, who will guarantee an interview and work, if successful.
The course itself will cover a mix of theory and practical, and learners will create a portfolio of evidence and compete practical-based assessments and assignments. Topics covered include routine maintenance, inspection and adjustments to the permanent way; maintenance and engineering technology; personal track safety; manual handling; emergency first aid and more.
Louise Lisseman, managing director of Betaris, said: "This is a great opportunity for people struggling to find work, to succeed in a new career in the rail industry. The guarantee of an interview and work upon successful completion is a fantastic incentive."
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