Training for people working in the rail industry urgently needs to be improved, according to Lifelong Learning minister Malcolm Wicks.
In a letter this week to Sir Alastair Morton, chairman of the shadow Strategic Rail Authority, Wicks expressed concern over the “pitifully few” employees who gain nationally recognised qualifications.
In the four years to June 2000, only 24 NVQs were awarded to train drivers, he says.He suggests that, in partnership with government, the industry can help improve skill levels through the regulatory and franchising framework.
Wicks proposes that a joint working group should consider setting suitable targets for skills and qualifications, which the Strategic Rail Authority could take into account when assessing rail franchise bids.
by Lisa Bratby