Courses at Northampton rail industry academy get accreditation

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The new National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Kings Heath, Northampton, is to have its courses accredited by the industry’s specialist awarding organisation EAL.

EAL will certify and validate 39 courses at NTAR through its accreditation services, covering traction and rolling stock.

The first students from Siemens and South West Trains will join in October, while members of the Rail Engineering Design Technician Apprentice Group will also be attending a residential week.

The academy was jointly built and funded by the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) - drawing on a repayable grant from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills - and Siemens.

NSARE members have been invited to open days in August to see the academy now construction is complete.

Facilities include a large fully fitted workshop, a virtual reality suite, a ‘digital railway’ room, and areas dedicated to European Rail Traffic Management System/European Train Control System and rail electrification.

Half of the Academy’s capacity is allocated to the wider rail industry with the remainder for Siemens’ use.

Julia Chippendale, managing director of EAL, said: “This is a fantastic new facility that will make a real difference to skills in the railway industry and support the huge rail infrastructure programmes underway across the UK.

“EAL has worked with Siemens and NTAR to validate a suite of courses offering flexible learning solutions to support trainees, apprentices and existing staff. It will help to build a workforce that can steer the railway network through a transformational era and attract bright young people into the industry.”

Jayne Lewis, Rolling Stock Training Manager at Siemens said: “Working with EAL, we are launching a newly-accredited programme of practical technical instruction that will allow staff to build their skill base step-by-step.

“Beginning with the successful completion of five modules (from a choice of eight) to achieve an Award in Traction and Rolling Stock Maintenance, individuals can then progress through five further modules to the Certificate stage.

“Finally, five concluding modules will qualify them for the Diploma in Traction and Rolling Stock Maintenance, which will become the ‘gold standard’ for training in the sector. These Diploma courses also include developmental options designed to enhance supervisory skills, which can serve as a ‘bridge’ to the more advanced leadership and management modules available at a later stage of career progression.”

For more information on NTAR visit www.ntar.co.uk and to find out more about the courses on offer visit www.eal.org.uk