Grayling opens Al­stom acad­emy

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews - BY JOHN MCDOUGALL john.mcdougall@trin­i­tymir­ @JMacD1988

THE TRANS­PORT Sec­re­tary has opened a new rail acad­emy in Widnes which will train 500 ap­pren­tices over the next five years.

Chris Grayling vis­ited the Al­stom Acad­emy For Rail in Hale­bank which is due to take on 20 new ap­pren­tices this autumn.

It is also of­fer­ing a fur­ther 30 ap­pren­tice­ship places to cur­rent Al­stom staff.

The num­bers will rise to 135 by 2021.

Mr Grayling said: “Our rail net­work is grow­ing and I have been clear we will need thou­sands more peo­ple work­ing in the sec­tor in the years ahead.

“I’m de­lighted to open Al­stom’s top class new Rail Acad­emy will help train up the next gen­er­a­tion of tal­ent.

“We are in­vest­ing £13bn in trans­port across the North and there are some great, re­ward­ing ca­reers work­ing on our rail­ways.”

The Al­stom Acad­emy For Rail will of­fer young peo­ple and ma­ture em­ploy­ees a rounded ed­u­ca­tion and will work with other ed­u­ca­tion providers to de­liver its ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grams. Stu­dents will take en­gi­neer­ing classes at River­side Col­lege and then learn rail spe­cific skills at the acad­emy.

Al­stom UK & Ire­land managing di­rec­tor Nick Cross­field said: “Today we cel­e­brate a fan­tas­tic new in­dus­trial fa­cil­ity for the UK, and even more im­por­tantly, our first in­take of new ap­pren­tices.

“In year one the Al­stom Acad­emy For Rail will train 20 ap­pren­tices, five of whom have been taken on to help re­paint the iconic Pen­dolino trains right here in Widnes.

“It is a par­tic­u­larly proud mo­ment for us to wel­come the sec­re­tary of state to see our progress on that project, be­cause it demon­strates how trans­port con­tracts can de­liver real jobs and train­ing on the ground. Not just cre­at­ing a bet­ter rail­way, but also build­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of highly skilled rail­way en­gi­neers.”

The train­ing that stu­dents un­der­take will in­clude safety and main­te­nance of ve­hi­cles such as Al­stom’s Pen­dolino trains which are used on the West Coast Main Line, or the Ci­tadis trams that are used in Not­ting­ham.

Along­side the acad­emy, Al­stom are re­paint­ing 56 Pen­dolino trains next to the train­ing acad­emy in their train mod­erni­sa­tion fa­cil­ity, for use by Vir­gin on the West Coast Main Line.

The team is 80-strong and in­cludes five new ap­pren­tices who will work on the project.

A Depart­ment For Trans­port spokesman said: “Thou­sands of ex­tra rail ap­pren­tices will be needed in the com­ing years as the net­work grows rapidly, and the Gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing £1bn in the Great North Rail Project up un­til 2020.”

Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling has opened the new Al­stom Acad­emy For Rail in Hale­bank

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