December Insights from NSAR Chief Executive

It has been another big year for NSAR.

As part of our new strategy, which committed to helping ease skills gaps in rail by supporting apprenticeships, we launched two new services – Skills Match and the NSAR Apprenticeship Agency. These services present a step-change in the level of apprenticeship support NSAR offers to rail businesses and we do not take the challenge lightly. We are excited to work with you as we ramp up these services in 2024.

We have strengthened our existing services too. Our membership numbers continued to grow as we refined our membership offering to ensure it provides great value for rail businesses. The Workforce Analytics team delivered more than 40 reports to organisations in the UK and wider infrastructure sectors – enabling forward planning and workforce initiatives across multiple sectors. Quality Assurance delivered excellent services as always, supporting the safety of rail workers and railways. The QA team is now fully staffed, which has enabled them to expand their offerings to enhance rail training – such as a mentoring programme to improve the quality of training.

All this despite turbulence in our core market. The industry has made great progress in its recovery from COVID, despite political and funding uncertainty and industrial action. We share your frustration and continue to advocate for the benefits of longer-term thinking for investment.

The NSAR team has grown. Welcome to Edward Hughes, Head of Policy Engagement. Ed will enable us to work more closely with government and industry to influence and educate decision-makers on the value of rail and how to get the best from it. The scope of planned engagement extends to skills policy, particularly apprenticeships.

We have continued to be the driving force behind Routes into Rail, the rail industry initiative to promote rail careers. Routes into Rail has made a step change over the last 12 months – growing into a well-established campaign targeting hundreds of thousands with engaging information and activities. It is a collaborative venture for the benefit of the entire industry – and I encourage you to get involved.

Thank you to all our members, partners and clients for your support in 2023. We look forward to working with you in 2024.

Neil Robertson
NSAR Chief Executive

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