The rail industry in the UK is a complex, challenging environment that has evolved over centuries and demands more of its stakeholders now than ever before. We have the 17th largest railway network in the world; despite many lines having closed in the 20th century it remains one of the densest rail networks. It is one of the busiest railways in Europe, with 20% more train services than France, 60% more than Italy, and more than Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Portugal and Norway combined, as well as representing more than 20% of all passenger journeys in Europe. In 2016, there were 1.718 billion journeys on the network, making it the fifth most used in the world. Growth in passenger numbers of 4% to 5% per annum is commonplace in the last decade or so and is predicted to continue rising over the coming years.
The dynamic and profile of the workforce on the UK railways has also evolved. To meet the increased demand in services, we have a workforce that is probably one quarter of what it was 5o years ago. NSAR estimates that the workforce in UK rail is around 250,000 including all infrastructure organisations, train and freight operators and the supply chain to deliver the investment levels. The demands of the network are placing huge burdens on the workforce, as the desire for increased productivity and lower costs are expected. The way we recruit and train our workforce is becoming critical in shaping the way the UK rail industry adapts to its changing and evolving environment. Get it wrong and the industry’s ability to function effectively is significantly compromised.
Pauley Technology is embracing this challenge wholeheartedly.
We recognise it is fundamental that the industry trains its workers more efficiently and effectively through the adoption of 21st century technology. Our work with the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR), the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), the Alstom Training Academy and many other employers and training facilities indicates how we are collaborating to improve the way the industry develops its people. Using more immersive technologies, touch screen capabilities, virtual reality and augmented reality solutions has allowed employers to both cut down the time required to train but also improve the trainee experience. As the Benjamin Franklin saying goes ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.
We also recognise that we need to play a part in the consultation and decision-making processes, by being an active participant in the way the industry responds to the challenges ahead. Our involvement with industry wide groups can be summarised as follows:
· Rail Industry Association (RIA), where we are active in the Innovation space, through demonstrations, conferences and supporting the Unlocking Innovation programme. We have been extremely impressed with the way the new leadership at RIA has galvanised the suppliers of the industry to collaborate and consult on industry wide initiatives.
· Rail Delivery Group (RDG), where we are consulting on the Rail Sector Deal particularly around the supply chain, SME space, and supporting the drafting of the Innovation and Digitisation sections – our key strengths.
· Rail Supply Group (RSG), where we have supported the Sector strategy, which sets out rail’s long-term commitment to increase our manufacturing and innovation capability to enhance productivity, skills and employment to support UK economic growth. In addition, we hope to join the newly established Export Leadership Group and SME Group
· Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT), where we have demonstrated our products and technology as industry leading to many Ministers and Secretaries of State.
· We also actively participate in many other industry wide activities that arise through the Rail Alliance or through the Rail Forum East Midlands, both of which do fantastic things for employers and suppliers in the rail industry.
In addition, we are enthusiastic about other groups in industry that we believe add real value in UK rail and therefore warrant particular commendation. These include Women in Rail (WR), Innovate UK (AIiR), Young Rail Professionals (YRP) and NSAR’s Training Alliance , which seeks to disseminate great practice around the training fraternity in UK rail.
In addition to the above, our reach continues to grow. We have been appointed as the Digital Content provider for the new National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster and Birmingham. We view this as a key building block in helping high-speed rail embrace new and innovative technologies in rail and construction.
We are working with TfL on an Innovate UK submission. We are involved in other new industry initiatives; such as the Digital Railway with Network Rail that we believe can be transformational. The industry is looking at ways at which new technology can support the delivery of new investments and we are actively providing guidance on how to train the workforce in a way that aligns closely with those new technological enhancements. We are continuing to support TfL, Network Rail and HS2 with the delivery of their investment and training programmes. We are also supporting the supply chains of those organisations with the delivery of their training requirements. Finally we will continue to support NTAR in everything it does, be it domestically or internationally. We consider this to be collaborative partnership working at its very best.
Through the adoption of higher levels of digital advancements, both in asset deployment and learning technologies, we can drive up productivity levels in the UK rail industry. Pauley Technology is a pioneer in digital technology deployment and is at the vanguard of exciting and innovative ways of learning and working. We want the rail industry to succeed and we are playing an active and enthusiastic part in doing so.
— DfE (@educationgovuk) October 9, 2017
— PAULEY (@pauleygtr) October 4, 2017