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Rail industry leaders back NSAR-CONNECT to tackle skills shortages together

08 March 2017/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Rail


The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) has gained the backing of 20 major names in the rail sector including Network Rail and Transport for London for its new rail placement service, NSAR-CONNECT.

The innovative online service has just gone live and aims to tackle the chronic skills shortage in the rail sector by enabling the industry to join forces to actively attract, secure, retain and redeploy talent where it is most needed. NSAR estimates that NSAR-CONNECT could save the rail industry over £3M annually in recruitment costs.

NSAR-CONNECT manages the placement of apprentices, graduates and students exclusively in rail. It is the only online recruitment service which matches talented individuals from over-subscribed recruitment schemes with organisations struggling to find suitable candidates for open vacancies. These ‘Beneficiary’ organisations gain access to a resource pool of enthusiastic, high calibre candidates that have been pre-screened by NSAR-CONNECT ‘Patron’ organisations and have reached an industry recognised level of assessment criteria.

In addition to Network Rail and Transport for London, other Patrons of the scheme include Stagecoach, Alstom Transport UK & Ireland, Amey, Arriva, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier Transportation UK, RDG Group, Carillion, Colas, Costain Group, Morgan Sindall, PROCAT, Siemens, Hitachi, Thales UK, Virgin Trains East Coast, Volker Rail and IntoRail (through the YRP).

Commenting on the initiative, Mike Brown, Transport Commissioner and NSAR Chairman said: “I am delighted to express my support for NSAR-CONNECT, both in capacity as Chair of NSAR and as Transport for London’s Commissioner. Our challenge is to attract people to our industry and ensure they have the right skills and capabilities to do the work. I see NSAR-CONNECT as a key building block in the wider Rail Sector Skills Delivery Plan to secure the right people in the right place at the right time.”

The scheme which benefits employers and candidates alike will handle the September 2017 intake of apprentices, helping employers to recover their Levy payment more effectively.

Neil Franklin, Head of Skills Intelligence at NSAR said: “NSAR-CONNECT has been developed to support the rail sector in finding the next generation of talent and will help the industry to meet the challenging government targets for 20,000 new apprentices by 2020. Like the UCAS clearing service, we will be connecting people to openings they might not have initially considered while ensuring enthusiastic and able candidates who could be the future generation of industry leaders are not lost to other industry sectors.”  

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