High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL) has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging diversity and championing the development of training, skills and career opportunities in the rail sector by providing bursaries for three ‘Rail Leader Learners’ to attend the National College of High Speed Rail (NCHSR) and study for the Certificate of Higher Education in High Speed Rail and Infrastructure.

Throughout the duration of their course, the Rail Leader Leaners have been sharing their experiences through a series of blog posts, media editorials and appearances on panel discussions at industry events in a bid to promote and champion a career in HS2 and high speed rail as widely as possible.

The industry currently faces a crippling skills shorta
ge and lack of diversity. In an attempt to do more to attract the brightest and the best into rail, the bursaries were intended to provide three applicants, either from under-represented backgrounds or who may not have previously considered a career in rail, with the opportunity to study to become part of the new generation of highly skilled engineers that will go on to build HS2 and projects like it.

In addition to the bursaries, HSRIL is also providing the Rail Leader Learners with the opportunity to undertake work experience with HSRIL members, who are the major companies that will deliver HS2, so that the students can gain valuable experience within the industry.

Anesha Rachel Malhan, HSRIL Rail Leader Learner said:

“Traditionally, engineering and rail have both been industries overwhelmingly dominated by men. Well not anymore! I’m proud to be working alongside HSRIL and its member companies to rectify the gender imbalance and encourage other young women to consider a career in these industries. To successfully deliver HS2, we need to ensure that we’re tapping into the widest possible talent pool and attracting a diverse range of skilled engineers – both men and women.”

 Amr Ahmed, HSRIL Rail Leader Learner said:

“Before becoming a student at the NCHSR I worked for ten years in manufacturing, assembly and logistics and was focused on raising my two children. I thought that was what I’d do for the rest of my life but then I realised the opportunities that arose from coming back to college to learn a new skill. I knew I wanted to make the most of it. It’s never too late to change your career and I hope I can inspire other people – no matter what their age – to consider a career in the rail industry too.”

 Joe Christian, HSRIL Rail Leader Learner said:

“At its peak, HS2 will need 27,000 people to work on it, including thousands of apprentices. That’s a phenomenal opportunity for a huge number of young people to develop their skills and kick-start their careers. Rail has become a really cool industry to work in, it’s at the forefront of cutting edge technology and innovation and it offers a huge variety of roles for people with different skills sets – there is something for everyone.  I’m excited to be working with the industry to help other young people harness the opportunity”

Iain Anderson, HSRIL Director said:

 “Our three Rail Leader Learners are part of the wider efforts that HSRIL members are making to address the skills gap in the rail industry. Our sector is facing a real shortage of specialists in professional roles and it is essential that we work together to attract new talent, positioning the rail industry as an attractive place to work and build a long-term career.”