TIES Living Lab Launch Online Advanced Learning Series

TIES Living Lab are pleased to announce the launch of their Online Advanced Learning series, beginning on Friday 22nd April 2022.

Working closely together with the government, i3P, the Construction Innovation Hub and academia, TIES Living Lab is a transformative collaboration of 25 partners focusing on 10 infrastructure, data research and digital demonstrator projects. The partnership tackles systemic issues that obstruct the use, integration and adoption of innovations that drives productivity through major construction and infrastructure schemes. The Project Management Office (PMO) is run by the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR).

The Online Advanced Learning series, which consists of four sessions, are hosted by NSAR’s CEO, Neil Robertson, and feature Project Leads from TIES Living Lab, who will be discussing how the programme and their respective projects is contributing to becoming a catalyst for change and driver of innovation within transport infrastructure. The Project Leads will be joined by a senior representative from the project clients (arms-length bodies to the Department for Transport (DfT) who will be able to highlight the real world application and endorse the lasting legacy that the  project are anticipated to bring, firing a lively and insightful conversation about the benefits of the ground-breaking collaboration.

The events are a great opportunity for those who are in the construction of transport infrastructure, champions of innovation and data gurus to not only learn about some fascinating ground-breaking work, but also to consider how change can be applied to their own organisations. There will be opportunity to ask questions, challenge and probe the speakers to be able to take away some tangible steps and action for change, which will be felt across the industry.

The first event, ‘Enabling Adoption of MMC through Development of an Intelligent Infrastructure Control Centre (IICC)’, will be held on Friday 22nd April at 10:30am to 12.00pm. The panel includes Charlie Davies, Strategic Growth Manager at Costain and Matthew Talliss, Head of Cost at East West Rail. Click here to find out more about the event, the speakers and to register now.

The second event, ‘Supporting Levelling Up through Digital Demonstrators – a Social Value Tool’, will be held on Friday 29th April at 10:30am to 12.00pm. The panel includes Gerard Toplass, Group CEO of The 55 Group, Jamie Hillier, Partner of Akerlof and Liz Holford of Network Rail. Click here to find out more about the event, the speakers and to register now.

The third event, ‘Transforming Logistics by Harnessing Digital Twin Technology’, will be held on Friday 13th May at 10:30am to 12.00pm. The panel includes Lamine Mahdjoubi, Professor at the University of the West of England and Nick West, Head of Programme Management Office at Transport for London. Click here to find out more about the event, the speakers and to register now.

And finally, the fourth event, ‘Harnessing Data to Drive Cultural Change in Transport Infrastructure’, will be held on Friday 20th May at 10:30am to 12.00pm. The panel includes Doug Forbes, Director of Whole Life Consultants, Lamine Mahdjoubi, Professor at the University of the West of England, Phill Wheat, Professor at the University of Leeds, Chris Fry, Managing Director of Accelar and Marc Rozsa, Smart Motorways PMO Director at National Highways. You can find out more about the event, the speakers and how to register here.

NSAR to support Philippines rail training academy – Railway Gazette Feature

Further to our recent announcement regarding the launch of our education and training Philippine Railways, we are delighted to share that the Railway Gazette International met with Mark Holmes, Head of Membership and Development at NSAR, to discuss and understand more about the initiative.

Mark Holmes, Head of Membership & Development at NSAR

Mark said – ‘All the relevant bodies are members of NSAR, and NSAR knows exactly what their strengths are, and therefore to whom to refer people, saving partners from having to do extensive, hit-and-miss research. We are therefore in a position to showcase the best of UK rail.’

You can find out more and read the Railway Gazette International article here.

Support employers to apply: £3,000 incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice

Calling all employers who hired a new apprentice between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022!

Employers who have hired an apprentice with an apprenticeship start date between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022, could be eligible for a £3,000 incentive payment via Apprenticeships.

To apply, employers should check their apprentices’ eligibility. They must have:

  • An employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022
  • An apprenticeship start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022

To receive the payment, employers must submit an application for each eligible apprentice using their apprenticeship service account.

When applying for the incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice, employers should make sure they have:

If any information is incorrect, this will delay payments .

You can find out more information in the step-by-step guide here.

Applications for the incentive payment close on 15 May 2022!

Digital Railway – Cyber security in a Modern Railway System

Petras website

Calling all: CTOs, IT Analysts, Operations and wannabe IT geeks!

NSAR is excited to be involved and partnered with PETRAS (a research consortium focused on the future implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT)) , UCL and other rail partners in a project exploring the impact of emerging technologies within rail and how to mitigate risk from cyber attacks on our modern railway infrastructure.

NSAR’s interest stems from needing to gain deeper insight into one area of weakness within cyber security which is around the people and social interaction with their environment. In our mission to provide guidance on training requirements and skill sets – both hard and soft, for the rail sector, as we embrace greater digital solutions, we look forward to seeing insightful outcomes.

PETRAS is seeking input into their research project on cybersecurity risks in relation to rail signalling and would like those involved in digital transformation within the rail sector to contribute to their work. If your organisation would like to be involved in this important project which will benefit the rail sector as a whole, read on to find out more about the project.

Project aims and objectives:

  • Identify emerging cybersecurity risks to rail signalling and control enabled IoT integration, and develop appropriate specification for security measures, skills and competencies.
  • Analyse and model security threats to rail signalling and control considering component interconnectivities, interactions, and interdependencies, and develop AI-based anomaly detection.
  • Investigate how socio-technical security thinking and modelling fit within evolving rail infrastructure protection approaches, and create recommendations for supply and service chains and procurements.
  • Investigate how to improve awareness on emerging socio-technical cybersecurity risks in modern railway systems, and develop an adaptive security solution for mitigating risk impacts on IoT-enabled modern railway systems (MRSs).

For those interested in taking part, the topics to be covered will be:

  • Adoption of IoT and security risks and modelling (enablers & barriers)
  • IoT security risk awareness, security competencies
  • Socio-technical security factors and attributes
  • Decision-making process for modelling security
  • Methods used to evaluate security models/tools for adoption.

 What would I need to do if I want to get involved?

At least one of the following:

  • Take part in interviews or focus groups
  • Provide a use case environment
  • Workshop/seminar participation to draw out industry environment insights
  • Undertake a survey on existing security risks, and modelling approaches – to help PETRAS understand perspectives, applications, maturity, and use practice

To find out more about PETRAS click here!

If you or someone in your company would like to find out more and get involved, please contact:

Steven Copeland  steven.copeland@nsar.co.uk

NSAR secures partnership with Philippine Railways Institute

NSAR are proud to share the launch of our education and training partnership with Philippine Railways.

The launch was witnessed by Richard Graham MP:

‘Richard Graham MP, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the ASEAN Economic Community, undertook an official visit to the Philippines last 14-18 February 2022.  The purpose of the visit was to promote trade and investment ties between the UK and Philippines, and to explore new areas of mutual collaboration and prosperity as the world recovers from the pandemic.

Throughout the week, Mr Graham called on DOF Secretary Sonny Dominguez, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, DOTR Secretary Arthur Tugade, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Makati Mayor Abby Binay.  Mr Graham also reconnected with senior business leaders, including the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Makati Business Club, for a useful exchange of business and market insights.  Along with the promotion of collaborations in sustainable infrastructure and in technology, green finance and UK Export Finance, Mr Graham reiterated the UK’s continuing commitment to increased trade between the UK, the Philippines and the ASEAN region.

Together with DOTR Secretary Tugade, Mr Graham witnessed the launch of education and training partnerships between the Philippine Railways Institute and the UK National Skills Academy for Rail, and between the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and Solent University.  The signed MoUs will support the high-level skills requirements in rail and maritime to strengthen the future workforce in the transport industries.’

TIES Living Lab Update

Paving the way for smarter railway infrastructure, TIES Living Lab, the ground-breaking collaboration of 25 partners focusing on 10 infrastructure, data research and digital demonstrator projects, is now on the home run to successful completion.  The collaboration, which kicked off in July 2020, has made significant progress on improving the way transport infrastructure is set up within live infrastructure projects that deliver value-adding benefits across the sector.  The 10 projects all have an integral part to play in achieving the project objectives:

  1. Improve the way Transport Infrastructure projects are set up to maximise value
  2. Achieve better assurance of project and programme value and what assets should cost (benchmarking)
  3. Accelerate the wider adoption of MMC (Modern Methods of Construction)
  4. Establish TIES Living Lab as a catalyst for long term cultural change across sectors by making a compelling case for long term HM treasury to scale the facility

As the collaboration prepares for the final push on the acceleration pedal, the projects are driving their way through their checklists and have made notable progress over recent and coming months:

  • September 2021 saw Project 6 – Cable Route Management System (CRMS) Automated Design leading the way in a successful completion of their objective of delivering a digital tool to show how automation can assist with CRMS feasibility analysis and design. The project is now ready for the exploitation phase of the programme.
  • Project 1 – Metrics, Benchmarking & Repository, is on track to complete their repository in April, of which will allow TIES Living Lab partners to be better informed about the performance of their projects, including showing potential for live links to the Intelligent Infrastructure Control Centre.
  • Project 4 – MMC Footbridges, are set to complete their design phase by the end of March for the new innovative footbridge which will meet or exceed the targets of the UK Government 2025 Construction Strategy: 33% lower costs, 50% faster delivery, 50% lower emissions and 50% improvement in exports.
  • Project 5 – MMC Equipment Rooms, are well underway with production on a new generic template for modular equipment rooms which are built off site, reducing future infrastructure investment time, cost and risk.
  • Project 7 – Cooling Panels, has successfully passed a critical Internal Design Review  meeting, allowing them to continue in their work in developing and testing an innovative approach to cooling underground stations.
  • And finally, Project 9 – Advanced Logistics, which sets out to deliver a range of digital solutions to track the status of an asset throughout its lifecycle – from early design to using BIM Asset Tagging to manufacturing, transportation and onsite logistics -have created value beyond the project scope by creating a cloud based advanced logistics platform.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with the latest TIES Living Lab news and successes, please stay tuned and follow us on LinkedIn!

SkillsID: Manage your workforce competency levels at the click of a button

Manage your workforce competency levels at the click of a button using SkillsID. An online tool that enables you to identify your organisation’s level of competence, as well as understanding its commercial ability.  Developed by NSAR in collaboration with rail industry employers, the competency management system enables organisations of all sizes to manage competency levels. 

Want to find out more, visit https://nsar.freshdesk.com/support/home and log an inquiry.

Apprentice of the Year Winners Annouced

The NSAR is thrilled to announce the winners and finalists of its inaugural Rail Apprentice of the Year competition, a national initiative to provide train and freight operators with an opportunity to celebrate success within their apprenticeship programmes and showcase the outstanding achievements of their rail apprentices.

Congratulations to the winners Daiyan Hussain (Level 2 Passenger Transport Operative) and Jahid Khan (Level 3 Train Driver) from MTR Elizabeth Line, and Paul Barlow (Level 4 Passenger Transport Operations Manager) from CrossCountry Trains.  Entrants have been judged again a framework to find the finest apprentices from cohorts including Level 2 Passenger Transport Operatives (PTO), Level 3 Train Drivers (TD) and Level 4 Passenger Transport Operations Managers (PTOM). Candidates were assessed on their achievement within their apprenticeship programme, additional professional development and wider organisational contributions such as, customer excellence, company values, and peer support.

Honourable mentions go to the finalists; Manpreet Bains (TD) and Andrew Gomez (PTO) from Greater Anglia; Mary Curtis (PTOM) from GBRF Intermodal; Carrie Pengelley (TD) and Owen Wild (PTO) from CrossCountry Trains and Kevin Thompson (TD) from Lumo.

With thanks to the judging panel including Network Rail’s HR Director, Kirsty Derry, Operations Director, Darren Ward of West Midlands Trains and NSAR’s own Chief Executive Neil Robertson.

NSAR’s Skills Manager Mike Falconer who coordinated the competition remarks; “We are pleased with the support that the competition has received in its opening year and we are impressed by the quality and diversity of the submissions we have received. We look forward to opening the competition again in 2023 and plan to extend the competition by adding further categories in Digital and Rail Engineering.

Chair of the judging panel and NSAR Chief Executive Neil Robertson comments; “Rail apprentices are the future of the industry and based on the talent we see, the future looks bright! “

Join Routes into Rail

With billions of pounds being invested in rail over the next decade, the demand for the next generation of engineers, data analysts, project managers and customer service assistants has never been greater.

To highlight the wide range of exciting opportunities within rail, the sector has collaborated to create the website, Routes into Rail. Routes into rail aims to;

  • Be one clear voice for rail creating a coherent and accessible message about the industry
  • Increase interest in studying STEM
  • Engage and attract the best talent to the rail industry
  • Increase the number of people considering and applying for jobs in the rail industry
  • Ensure people feel that the railway is a ‘place’ for them to work, regardless of ethnicity or gender

As Routes into Rail starts its third-year NSAR has created opportunities for more organisations to invest in a sector-wide talent attraction campaign.

Routes into Rail is supported by: Amey,  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy,  HS2,  Network Rail ,  Porterbrook, Railway Industry Association, VolkerWessels UK

We will be contacting our members over the next couple of months with more information on how to get involved. To register your interest please fill in this short form.

Routes into Rail

Routes into Rail


Visit RoutesintoRail.org to find exciting opportunities within rail, view the latest vacancies and see what a career in rail really looks like.

Apprenticeship Week

Today marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2021 during this week, we celebrate all things Apprenticeships.  theme of ‘Build the Future’ continues from 2021, and focuses on the benefits apprenticeships can have on individuals, businesses, and local communities.
The theme of “Build the Future” continues for its second National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), which will take place between 7 and 13 February 2022.

The 15th annual week-long celebration will take place across England, encouraging individuals of any age to reach their career goals by building their skills and knowledge through an apprenticeship.

To support National Apprenticeship Week 2022 individuals, employers, training providers and communities can get involved by encouraging everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help #BuildTheFuture.