The National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) is delivering gold standard training thanks to its partnership with EAL. EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry, now certificates and validates 39 courses at NTAR through its accreditation services, with a suite of qualifications covering traction and rolling stock and maintenance.
Facilities include a large fully fitted workshop, a virtual reality suite, a ‘digital railway’ room, and areas dedicated to the European Rail Traffic Management System/European Train Control System (ERTMS) and rail electrification.
The first cohort of learners from Siemens and South West Trains entered training in October 2015 and so far more than 150 apprentices have used the facility.
Dan Walker, Head of Apprentice Delivery for NTAR and Siemens Rail Systems said the partnership with EAL is crucial to its success.
Dan continued, “For many years qualifications in the rail industry were generic but what has been developed with EAL is a structure and content which is relevant, realistic and understands today’s requirements of the rail industry. EAL’s expertise was instrumental in the development of the new trailblazer apprenticeship standards and has been key in the successful running of NTAR. Customer service is also a strong point – EAL works closely with us, responds promptly to feedback and is very attentive.”
The new apprenticeship qualifications set to be delivered at NTAR include EAL Level 3 Diplomas in Rail Engineering Technician Knowledge and Competence.
There are no formal entry requirements for these qualifications; although learners must have the minimum levels of literacy and numeracy to comply with health and safety, the completion of the learning outcomes and the external assessment.
The qualifications are suitable for apprentice new starters and can also support the up-skilling of career changers from other industries, who may have existing technical engineering knowledge and skills and need these to be recognised in a qualification. They also provide the skills and knowledge aspects of rail engineering apprenticeship standards.
Alison Parkes, Managing Director of EAL said “NTAR is a fantastic facility that is making a real difference to skills in the railway industry and supporting the huge rail infrastructure development programmes underway across the UK.”
Alison continued, “EAL has worked with Siemens and NTAR to validate a suite of qualifications 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 talent into the industry.”
Mr Walker said: “We have had a lot of interest and companies were quickly able to see how NTAR could support their learning and development plans. As well as virtual technology, we have authentic working environments which can meet the needs of any company working in rail and, in EAL – we have an awarding organisation which is flexible in ensuring qualifications are relevant and up-to-date. The apprenticeship levy offers new opportunities and I would urge any employer in the industry to contact us, as together we can find the best solutions for their apprenticeship programmes.”
EAL has been at the forefront of creating pioneering new employer-led rail apprenticeship standards. Its raft of qualifications cover all six rail engineering disciplines: track, traction and rolling stock, signalling, telecoms, electrification and overhead line.
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For more information on NTAR visit www.ntar.co.uk.