Apprenticeship taskforce meets for first time

The Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT) has been launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) to bring together employers to address the skills gap in the transport sector.

The employer-led group will support the government’s ambition to create new 30,000 apprenticeships in transport by 2020, and to increase the diversity of the workforce.

Work is likely to focus on shaping quality training for new entrants and the existing workforce, as well as promoting careers in transport to young people, mid-career changers and returners.

The DfT committed to the taskforce in its Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy, published in January 2016, which set out its plan to create 30,000 apprenticeships in the transport sector by 2020. 

Taskforce follows the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy published in January 2016

The strategy also set an ambition for 20% of new entrants to engineering and technical apprenticeships in the transport sector to be women by 2020, and a 20% increase in the number of BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) candidates undertaking apprenticeships by the same period. 

STAT members met today (15 April) for the first time with stakeholders to share best practice and discuss priorities for the group. 

Work could include collaborating to support the development and uptake of quality transport apprenticeships in client organisations and through the supply chain. 

The taskforce will also be actively encouraging young people and mid-career changers and returners to consider a rewarding career in transport, “dispelling the outdated stereotype that work in the sector necessarily means men in hard hats and hi-vis, and highlighting the full range of cutting edge roles that will appeal to a diversity of people,” says the DfT.

Its work will support the Institute for Apprenticeships, to ensure consistency with other sectors.

As the work is lead by large employers, its focus is mainly on road building and railways, alongside aviation and maritime. Coaches and buses are not specifically mentioned.

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad says: “I have seen for myself the enthusiasm in young people for planes, trains and automobiles, and I am determined that the government’s record investment in transport helps transform childhood fascinations into lifelong careers.”

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Simon Kirby –a former apprentice with British Rail – has been announced as Chair of STAT. 

He says: “Being an apprentice was a great opportunity for me to pursue a vocational education and gain experience in the workplace, whilst learning at the same time. I used my apprenticeship as a springboard for my career.  It also equipped me with invaluable people skills that I’ve used in all aspects of my job.”

The STAT Board membership includes:

  • David Poole, Commercial and Procurement Director, Highways England
  • Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director, Network Rail
  • Beth West, Commercial Director, HS2 Ltd
  • Valerie Todd, Talent and Resources Director, Crossrail
  • George McInulty, Programme Director for Infrastructure, TfL
  • Paul Plummer, Chief Executive, Rail Delivery Group
  • Kevin Rowan, Head of Organisation and Services, TUC
  • Catherine De Marco, Deputy Director for Infrastructure Skills, DfT.