Make sure you are registered on the RoATP

A reminder that all supporting provider organisations (sub-contractors) delivering apprenticeships and wanting to access ESFA funding for the delivery of apprenticeship training must now be registered on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). This includes sub-contractors delivering less than £100,000 of apprenticeship training a year.

All subcontractors must be listed on the RoATP from 1st August 2019.

All organisations wanting to deliver apprenticeship training as a subcontractor from August 2019 that are not already listed on the RoATP, should apply by the end of April 2019 to be confident of being admitted to the register prior to August.

Lead providers will need to make sure that their subcontractors are aware of this if they wish to continue to partner with them from August 2019 onwards.

The NSAR Apprenticeship Service team has extensive experience of working with employers and sub-contractors to get on to the RoATP. If you would like to discuss the application process or if you are looking to apply to the RoATP as an employer provider or main provider, please feel free to contact us at 

Don’t forget your organisation can host a ‘Live chat’ event in support of the DWP ‘Rail Diversity’ campaign

Alongside our invitation to employers to provide apprentices to create videos for Skills Live, we are also appealing for you to support DWP ‘Rail Diversity’ campaign in July. The aim of the campaign is to promote and encourage diversity within the rail industry by engaging with job seekers across the Jobcentre plus network.

Central to this campaign will be a series of ‘live chat’ events, enabling employers to connect with and inspire employees of the future.
Live chat events are convenient, easy to access enabling greater interaction with a larger audience.

To see how you can get involved or for more information please contact: 

RSSB announces decarbonisation competition winners

RSSB has announced the winners of the £1 million Intelligent Power Solutions to Decarbonise Rail competition.  The six feasibility studies funded through the RSSB competition will develop alternative, energy-efficient technologies for high speed trains and freight trains, and innovative solutions for the provision, storage and distribution infrastructure of energy.

The projects winners are:

  • Decarbonising High-Speed Bi-mode Railway Vehicles through Optimal Power Control – Loughborough University, in collaboration with Angel Trains, Chiltern and Great Western Railway
  • Digital displacement for Non-Passenger Rail – Artemis Intelligent Power, Direct Rail Services, University of Huddersfield, in collaboration with Freightliner and Voith Turbo
  • Dual fuel locomotives to decarbonise freight operations – G-volution, in collaboration with GB Railfreight, Network Rail, Loram UK,
  • Green Valley Lines – Riding Sunbeams, in collaboration with Ricardo Energy, Network Rail, Energy Saving Trust Wales, 10:10 Climate Action and Transport for Wales
  • Hyd-Energy: Feasibility and concept design of future hydrail enabled railway depots University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Porterbrook and Transport for West Midlands
  • Digital Environment for Collaborative Intelligent De-carbonisation (DECIDe) – Newcastle University, in collaboration with HS2 and MTR  

The competition winners will be supporting the rail industry’s quest to decarbonise traction energy providing novel solutions to ensure the railways continue to offer one of the lowest-carbon transport options for passengers and freight. The work is fully supported by the Decarbonisation Task Force, which published its Initial Report to the Rail Minister in January, and ties in to the latest research by RSSB. The projects are expected to publish their findings early in mid-2020.

HS2 makes new appointments to the board

Last week Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling appointed the Dame Judith Hackitt and Stephen Hughes to the board as non-executive directors (NEDS). Both candidates bring with them a strong set of experience to help guide the construction of the largest infrastructure project in Europe:

Dame Judith Hackitt was the Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety and is Chair of manufacturing trade body Make UK (formerly EEF).

Stephen Hughes is a highly experienced local government leader, having served as Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council for nearly 10 years, as well as previously holding an executive role at Brent Council.

It was also announced that Ed Smith and Roger Mountford were
re-appointed as existing NEDs for a further 3 years. Finally, Andrew Wolstenholme has left the board having served since June 2018.

Smallpeice Trust launches a Digital Railway Engineering Course

Smallpeice will be launching a Digital Railway Engineering (for YRS 11 and 12) course this summer as a result of the increasing demand for rail transport and the need for a new generation of railway engineers to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. The 4-day course (29th July – 1st August 2019) will take focus on the range of skills needed to deal with technology from traditional heavy engineering to cutting-edge digital technologies. It will cover:

  • The challenges the railways face and the advanced technology they increasingly use to make them safer, cleaner, more efficient, reliable, greener and cost-effective
  • How trains protect their passengers in the event of a crash, why aerodynamics are so important for high speed trains, and why train control systems are so complicated and expensive
  • How you could contribute to this growing industry as an apprentice or graduate engineer

To find out more click here.

A reminder regarding ESFA Funding

A reminder that all providers organisations wanting to access ESFA funding to deliver apprenticeship training must now be on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). This includes subcontractors delivering less than £100,000 of apprenticeship training a year. All subcontractors must be listed on the RoATP from 1st August 2019.

All organisations wanting to deliver apprenticeship training as a subcontractor from August 2019, that are not already listed on the RoATP, should apply by the end of April 2019 to be confident of being admitted to the register prior to August.

Lead providers will need to make sure that their subcontractors are aware of this if they wish to continue to partner with them from August 2019 onwards.

Digital Support Technician Standard Published!

The Digital Support Technician Standard has been published today.
The occupation is found in organisations, large and small, in all sectors, and within public, private and voluntary organisations.  The demand for people who can support and implement these digital operations and digital transformation projects is increasing. To find out more about the standard click here.

Don’t forget that NSAR External Quality Assurance Service for digital apprenticeships is now live. Our service ensures that the end point assessments are consistent and comparable across end-point assessment organisations – and that the assessment decisions are occupationally valid.

To find out more or regarding our Digital EQA Service click here.

Digital rail developments need digital know-how

Thousands more train passengers will be able to wave goodbye to their orange tickets this month as train companies make smart tickets more widely available with the roll out of new technology across the network.

Following recent upgrades, passengers travelling from all major stations across Britain including Waterloo, Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central are now able to go paperless, buying smart tickets more quickly and easily online or via their smartphones to store on their handset or a smartcard. After further installation of readers at stations around the country and software updates due at the end of this month, we expect nine in 10 tickets to be available for sale to customers as smart tickets.

The increased availability of smart tickets is already benefitting passenger by:

  • saving time as they can buy online from anywhere and can skip queues at ticket machines, with 22% of journeys in 2018 made on tickets bought online, up from 7% in 2013.
  • allowing them to go paperless, ending the days of lost tickets with passes stored securely on a phone or a card. It’s also forest friendly, with the equivalent of almost 1,200 km or the distance from London to Edinburgh and back in traditional orange paper tickets saved in the first two months of this year alone.
  • connecting information about their journey to a personal account, enabling ‘one click compensation’ as already available on some operators, so it’s simple and easy for customers to claim compensation as train companies and Network Rail work together to improve punctuality.

NSAR is aware that 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 13 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.

‘Institutes of Technology’ to boost skills training

The government has announced the locations of 12 “Institutes of Technology” in England, intended to provide high-quality skills training.  The aim is to offer young people a vocational alternative to universities. Employers will support the institutes, most of which will be based around existing colleges and universities.

Prime Minister Theresa May said “they would end outdated perceptions that were biased against vocational skills.”

The institutes will be the “pinnacle of technical training”, said Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

The introduction of a network of Institutes of Technology aims to create a high-quality route to gain skills and technical qualifications, comparable to going to university. They will begin opening from the autumn, supported by funding of £170m. The institutes, based in further education colleges and universities, will each have an industry specialism, and use the expertise of relevant employers.

The leads to set up the Institutes of Technology are:

  • Barking and Dagenham College, east London
  • Dudley College of Technology, west Midlands
  • Harrow College and Uxbridge College, west London
  • Milton Keynes College, Buckinghamshire
  • New College Durham, north-east England
  • Queen Mary University of London, east London
  • Solihull College and University Centre, west Midlands
  • Swindon College, Wiltshire
  • University of Exeter, Devon
  • University of Lincoln
  • Weston College of Further and Higher Education, Somerset
  • York College, York

How does NSAR membership benefit my organisation?

By joining NSAR you and your organisation can become part of an active and respected community of like-minded people, sharing specialist knowledge and expertise in all aspects of rail focused on delivery and maintenance of a world-class rail service. 

We provide our members with:

  • Bespoke consultancy tailored to you organisations needs (Large organisations only)
  • Access to frequent seminars and workshops focusing on topical subjects
  • The ability to lobby government on policy & legislation surrounding the rail industry
  • Access to a range of network of organisations and key industry figures all sharing best practice and views on the industry risks and opportunities
  • Immediate access to information on the latest industry analysis, trends and development 

To see our full Membership Directory click here.

To find out more about NSAR Membership click here.