How to select the best apprenticeship training route for your business & levy recovery: 26th Sept 2019

How do you decide whether to become a Main Provider, Employer Provider, Supporting Provider … or should you outsource all of your apprenticeship training to an external training provider?

Which route will enable you to maximise Levy recovery and meet your organisation’s skills needs?

These are big decisions for your organisation. The good news is that NSAR has experts who can help.  On 26th September 2019 we will be hosting a half-day workshop to:

  • Explain the pros and cons of the different apprenticeship provider types available
  • Highlight the factors that you need to consider and pitfalls to avoid
  • Provide guidance on how to conduct a feasibility study to determine the best route and how to build the business case

Upon completion of the workshop you will have the knowledge to determine the best apprenticeship training route so that you can make the right decision for your organisation.

To register for this event click here.

Want to work for an employer who will value your unique qualities?

Find job hunting tedious? Login to for a new way of finding a job.

Skills Live is a new online tool that uses video content to enable job seekers to gain an understanding of key responsibilities required for specific roles in rail.  The platform bypasses the conventional means of applying for job roles and displays a wealth of careers in rail.

Visit now and get on board!


Just received your A-Level results? Considering a career in rail

Have you just received your A-level results? Are you considering your next move? Thinking about working in rail?

Why not register with NSAR-CONNECT. This FREE online platform matches employers to prospective apprentices, graduates and placement students, allowing the industry to recruit, retain and redeploy talented individuals.

“Siemens suggested I register with the NSAR-Connect and in a month I got an apprenticeship with Angel Trains via Northampton college whilst studying my BTEC Mechanical Engineering.”
Charlotte Mortimer, Angel Trains

Want to find out more about NSAR-Connect, contact

Rail fares set to rise again by up to 2.8%

Rail users in the UK will be hit by a further rise in ticket prices which will come into effect in 2020. The increase will be based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July of 2.8%. The figure is likely to lead to an increase of more than £100 in the annual cost of getting to work for many commuters. Passenger groups urged a change in the way ticket prices are calculated, as RPI is no longer a national statistic.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has repeatedly said that CPI, the most widely watched and used measure of inflation, should be used instead of RPI. Last month this was 2% and it is typically lower than the RPI rate of inflation. CBT chief executive Darren Shirley said the expected ticket price rises were “exorbitant. The government should commit now to January’s fares rise being linked to CPI.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It’s tempting to suggest fares should never rise. However, the truth is that if we stop investing in our railway, then we will never see it improved.”



FirstGroup is to take over the running of the West Coast mainline train route

FirstGroup is to take over the running of the West Coast mainline train route, connecting London Euston to Glasgow Central, from December. Along with Italian firm Trenitalia, FirstGroup said the route would pave the way for an era of high-speed rail.

First Trenitalia replaces Virgin Trains, which was barred from bidding to keep the route. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the bid was part of a shift to a new model for rail.

The new partnership will operate in two phases. The first will run from 8 December to March 2026, when First Trenitalia will operate the existing InterCity West Coast services. The second phase will run from March 2026 to March 2031, when it will operate the HS2 high-speed rail service.

It said its 56 Pendolino trains would be completely refurbished, with more reliable free Wi-Fi and better catering. By 2022, it says, it will offer more than 260 extra services each week, increasing seat miles by more than 10% compared with 2017-18. This will cost £117m according to the Department for Transport.

New technology could see rail ticket barriers disappear

Railway station ticket barriers could be replaced by sensors which detect when passengers board trains. Hitachi Rail is developing technology designed to ensure travellers are automatically charged the correct fare by recognising their smartphones at both ends of their journey.

The firm is testing the system in northern Italy and believes it could be used on trains, buses and trams in the UK.

NSAR is aware that the introduction of new digital technologies will be integral to the future of rail and people will need the right skills to adapt. That is why NSAR now provides external quality assurance across a number of digital apprenticeship standards. The EQA service ensures that the end-point assessments are compliant and comparable and consistent across end-point assessment organisations.

To find out more about  NSAR DIGITAL EQA click here.


Dont forget that Skills Live is Live!

Using video to bring to life a variety of job roles within rail, Skills Live is a great way to engage job seekers, recruit new talent and improve diversity. Users can learn more about the skills of a role by watching a series of short videos linked to a job specification. Those who work their way through the video content will be directed to a potential career opportunity with an employer.

Skills Live will enable employers to connect with more people who until now may not have considered a career in rail. It aims to be instrumental in inspiring the next generation of employees whilst encouraging diversity.

The video based platform has been funded by UFI Trust and developed in partnership with Dept. for Work & Pensions and rail employers, including TfL, Network Rail, Bombardier, East Midlands Trains and
Colas Rail.

Get on board and find out more by click here

Apprentice funding shortfall sparks fears over training

A funding shortage from the government’s apprenticeship levy is preventing smaller businesses from adding school leavers on to their programmes, according to those providing the training. The shortfall is so large 75%  apprenticeship training providers are turning away business because they do not have the resources to teach new apprentices, according to the Association of Employment Learning Providers (AELP).

Many training providers said they have had to turn away organisations wishing to start new apprenticeship programmes. Other have stated that they had been forced to cut back on apprentice recruitment for their employer clients because new government funding was refused.

With such contention surrounding apprenticeships and funding know that NSAR is here to help. We have developed an online Apprenticeship Levy Planner that is designed to model the apprenticeship programmes to best fit the needs of an employer.  We also have an in-depth understanding of the current apprenticeships landscape, with a team of experts facilitating the design of the latest apprenticeship standards relevant for the rail and the wider transport industry.  

To see how we can help, click here.

Interrail scheme decision reversed after 24 hrs

Britain’s membership of the Interrail and EU train travel schemes will continue just 24 hours after it was announced the UK would leave the project.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said it renewed talks with Eurail Group, the company running the programmes, following a strong reaction to news of our departure. They were able to reach an agreement which means Britain will be remaining part of both the Interrail and Eurail passes which allows holders to travel by train across Europe.