NSAR AGM and Skills Symposium 2022 unpack social value and the importance of apprenticeships

A big thank you to everyone who attended our AGM and Skills Symposium events at the end of November. It was great to see people and discuss some important topics in the rail industry and wider.

The AGM went well, with all motions approved. Many thanks to NSAR Chair Dyan Crowther for chairing this event.

Ed Balls’ keynote speech

We were so pleased to welcome Ed Balls as the keynote speaker of the Skills Symposium. He gave a fantastic speech and was happy to answer a few tricky questions! Ed’s main point was that society needs to better encourage qualifications that teach people in real-world applications – like apprenticeships – and stop viewing these qualifications as second-class. We in the rail industry already know this but we need to help others – especially schools – come around to this view.


Panel Discussion

Many thanks to panel chair Neil Robertson, NSAR Chief Executive, and panellists Tom Hall, Social Sustainability Principal RSSB; Joe Holland, Head of Human Resources Transpennie Route Upgrade; Natalie Penrose, Head of Legacy HS2; and Michelle Russell, Head of Workforce Analytics NSAR.

The discussion gave great insight into how we, as an industry, are tackling social value and how we should shape our future plans. We need to look at apprenticeships and upskilling from an industry-wide perspective so we can see where the gaps are and make a collective effort to fill them with a diverse range of people. Better workforce planning results in more social value.

Another point raised by the panel that we thought was pertinent was the importance of delivering good apprenticeships. As an industry, and as employers who run apprenticeships, we must consider what support managers and trainers need to enable apprentices to learn and gain value. Individual businesses are running some great apprenticeship programmes but there needs to be the right infrastructure at an industry level to deliver quality apprenticeships.








Thanks again to all who attended!

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