September services update

A round-up of our activity and achievements in September.

Quality Assurance:

  • The Quality Assurance team have convened a working group of subject-matter experts to update the portfolio of training materials following the recent RSSB rule updates.
  • They are also running an in-house masterclass for Bridgeway to educate and coach trainers on high-quality mentoring. These masterclasses are run periodically by NSAR, or can be done in-house on request. They show trainers what a good standard of mentoring looks like, with the aim of improving the quality of training in the industry, and are useful for trainers at any level of competency. Contact us if you are interested in attending an upcoming class.

Workforce Analytics:

  • The Workforce Analytics team is starting a piece of work for the Transport, Employment and Skills Taskforce (a DfT cross-transport group) to compare skills and challenges across the sector.
  • The first phase of analysis for the West Coast Partnership Development (WCPD) has been completed, developing insights into Avanti West Coast’s current workforce and how it benchmarks against the sector and competitors. It also reviews the Unified Target Operating Model and its applicability to the operation of WCPD. The team is about to start the second phase of work to develop a skills plan and talent strategy for a future integrated services workforce. This will consist of a series of structured interviews and discussions with key relevant industry leaders to ensure the right outcomes are met.
  • Great senior leadership with the right skills and know-how is vital to effectively planning and building a workforce. NSAR has been preparing training materials on strategic workforce planning for senior leaders at Network Rail Northwestern Central Route. The materials explain strategic workforce planning, why it is important and how it can be effectively implemented.
  • NSAR is supporting DfT with assessing and understanding the capability maturity of the rail sector in delivering key objectives. This has involved attending and participating in industry workshops and understanding the wider impact on the sector. The results of these workshops, as well as examples of good practice from elsewhere, will be used to assess the skills and steps needed to improve the maturity of capability.


  • NSAR has been working with IFATE and employers to move the new Train Driver apprenticeship standard closer to completion and publication. With the new guidance on the removal of mandatory IT qualification as a Gateway requirement for new apprentices, and the new guidance on the IT qualification in place for those apprentices that started before 1st August, attention has now turned to complying with the new IFATE policy on integrated qualification requirements. A way forward on the end-point assessment is now being discussed with the ORR and some final work is also underway to ensure the apprenticeship covers the digital skills and knowledge required to meet the occupation’s needs.
  • National Occupational Standards Refresh – NSAR is starting a consultation process to refresh Track, Signalling, OLE, Traction & Rolling Stock and Telecoms National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This consultation will run from October and be completed by the end of March next year. If you would like to get involved, please contact us.

Skills ID:

  • We have been testing and implementing a new feature for Morgan Sindall that will allow them to merge any duplicate courses, resulting in less confusion over which training course is the right one to apply to a worker. The feature is almost ready to be deployed to the live site.
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