Former forces rebuild Britain’s railways

Former Gurkhas – and other men and women from the military – are on the front line in the battle to rebuild and modernise Britain’s railways -thanks to new qualifications being pioneered by EAL.

Dozens are completing these highly specialist qualifications to equip them to electrify thousands of miles of track as part of Network Rail’s National Electrification project (NEP) including the Liverpool to Manchester line and the proposed HS2 project.

Training provider Akona Rail, in Runcorn, is getting them up to speed for the mammoth work ahead.

Specialist industry awarding organisation for the rail industry, EAL, is currently helping to develop industry specific qualifications and apprenticeships to create an ‘army’ of more than 3,000 skilled workers needed to rebuild and modernise the rail network across the UK.

Gurkhas and other members of the military will be attended one of their final training sessions in Runcorn on Wednesday May 21st.

Allan MacDonald, EAL Project Manager (Rail) believes that former members of the military are proving to be perfectly placed to take up the new posts.

“They are dedicated, fit and committed to a cause.” Said Allan. “They have the right transferable skills and aptitude for the job.

“Several hundred have come forward to embark on training and EAL salutes each and every one of them.

“We still need thousands more – to carry out the vital work of modernising the rail infrastructure. Former members of the military are really well positioned to train and qualify for a rewarding career which will enable them to make a major contribution to this important project and continue to serve their country.”

EAL awards numerous qualifications in track maintenance and electrification and is developing a new apprenticeship to standardise and regulate skills in the rail industry.

The qualification, currently being undertaken by former members of the military, has been developed by EAL working with representatives across the rail engineering industry including industry bodies, employers and training organisations.

The ‘EAL level 2 Certificate in Overhead Line Construction’ is a combined type qualification that allows the learner to work through the knowledge at their own pace whilst demonstrating the competence requirements. The units recognise existing mandatory rail training courses to ensure the burden of assessment is reduced.

It has an innovative A6 logbook that the learners use to record their activities during work and provides mapping against the requirements of the qualification. The qualification including training, knowledge and competence assessment is intended to take around six months to complete.

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