Case Study: Midlands Rail Hub – Strategic Workforce Planning and Economic Analysis 

NSAR was tasked with undertaking an economic analysis of the proposed Midlands Rail Hub (MRH) programme, based upon the additional jobs to be created when the programme 

gained approval. NSAR used it’s Skills Intelligence Model (SIM) to generate a workforce plan to deliver the new programme. 

The available workforce for the East & West Midlands regions was used as a baseline for the number of people working in the area. This was important when considering the economic aspect of the study, in terms of when new jobs would be created and whether these would be filled from current rail employees who would move into the roles, or from employees who would transfer to 

rail from other sectors or those employees who would move into roles from being economically inactive. 

Data was gathered from multiple sources, all anonymised and using the date of birth allowed a predicted retirement age to be calculated. 

Investment data was gathered from a range of sources, including the National Infrastructure Construction Pipeline, organisational business plans and trade press publications. Using this 

investment against the baseline context of the structure of the current workforce, a future demand workforce was calculated, providing the number of people and roles which would be 

required to deliver against the investment profile. 

Using the investment plan provided, the monies were allocated to asset types and spread across the timeframe appropriate to each sub-project of the overall investment. Asset types included Track, Signalling & Telecoms, Civils & structures, Traction & Rolling Stock, Electrification and Plant, Property, Stations & Depots, Business Management, Systems Engineering and Operations. This investment was uploaded into the SIM to generate a cost profile from which a workforce could be derived and subsequently a gap analysis was obtained. 

The gap calculated between the current and the future demand output (less the number predicted to retire at 65 years old) with shortfalls identified. These could be defined for each year within the forecast by work type, asset type, job role/family and region. Subsequently, roles with the largest deficits were defined as 

those which were in greatest demand. 

The analysis and modelling identified: 

  • A shortage of people with the right skills in both the East and West Midlands regions to undertake rail capital projects.
  • Approximately 15,000 roles would be created during the lifetime of this project. At peak in 2026, this demand is approximately 3,300 and averages approximately 2,000 per year. This would be an increase in the currently available workforce.
  • Over the course of 7 years, MRH could generate an additional £2.64bn in economic value as a result of jobs created through the project.

This information further helped focus the industry to either realign projects (timescales) and/or to review the inflow and  potential availability of those with appropriate skills through Apprenticeships, upskilling or re-skilling programmes. 

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