Waltham Forest College on track to support rail sector recruitment

Waltham Forest College has worked in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, London Borough of Waltham Forest and employers on the Rail Network to develop this specialist five-week course as part of the College’s Sector Based Work Academy Programme offer. 

The course supports local unemployed residents within Waltham Forest and surrounding areas into skilled employment. Learners completing the course achieve a railway engineering qualification, health and safety training, and undergo medical tests to ensure they are certified to work on a live rail track.

The College has a fully installed rail track on-site, providing opportunities to gain valuable experience before progressing onto a live track. The programme has been designed in partnership with Railway employers to ensure training is fit for purpose and meets the demands of a growing skills gap within the industry.

Railway Engineering student, Shilpesh Patel, comments of his experience on the course. 

He said: “I’ve been trying with great difficulty to gain experience in the Engineering Industry. I was informed by the Jobcentre of a railway engineering course at Waltham Forest College that would potentially lead to direct job outcome being employed as a track worker or an experienced Railway Engineer.

“My tutor has over 30 years of experience of working in the rail industry, teaching practical based modules such as using small hand tools whilst working on a track to understand the required methods and tools and their purpose in the rail industry.”

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Janet Gardner, Principal & CEO, Waltham Forest College said; “This is a great example of collaboration between Waltham Forest College, Waltham Forest Council and Jobcentre Plus, helping to address skills shortages in key industries and supporting local people into higher-skilled, and higher paid employment. The programme has been hugely successful in supporting unemployed Waltham Forest residents into work; 90% of learners have progressed to permanent employment within the Rail Industry. We are now seeking to extend the programme further to meet employer demand in the UK’s Rail, Transport and Infrastructure sectors.”

Cllr Simon Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Housing Development; said; “All signals point to the rail industry facing the next big skills shortage, partly due to an ageing workforce which hasn’t diversified in step with other industries. Waltham Forest College is using their excellent facilities and expertise to help get ahead of the issue with this unique course. As a local authority, we know our local labour market inside out, which makes us best-placed to help supply good candidates for the course – which also fulfils our key priority to connect residents with high-quality jobs.”

For more information, head over to the website: www.waltham.ac.uk

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