The Workers Union has welcomed the news that the government is consulting on the future skills requirements of the transport sector.
In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson for the organisation said: ‘Transport plays such a vital role in keeping our economy moving, that we can no longer afford to ignore the issues it’s facing. With carbon neutral transitions, skills shortages and a lack of diversity, the sector is dealing with many challenges. We hope that this consultation is the first step towards creating the truly world-class transport network our country deserves.’
The 12-week consultation will focus on understanding the skills the transport sector requires in the future economy. At the same time the government has launched a taskforce that will examine the blockers that some underrepresented groups experience when they are trying to access transport and related jobs.
The taskforce will be led by Rachel Skinner CBE, the president of the Institute of Civil Engineers. Speaking about the Taskforce’s aims, Skinner said: ‘I know how challenging, rewarding and fascinating working within the transport sector can be, particularly at the forefront of our net zero transition.
‘It’s well-known that a more diverse and inclusive workforce increases creativity, economic growth, collaboration and productivity, and I’m excited to use my experience to ensure people from underrepresented groups can build brilliant careers in transport.’
Meanwhile Andrew Stephenson, the minister for transport, said: ‘This taskforce will break down barriers to the leaders of the future who will deliver services that are essential to keep our country and economy moving.’
The government has earmarked 5 key areas that it believes will address the skills shortage in the sector. They include creating pathways for future skills development, improving training opportunities, boosting diversity and promoting transport as an attractive career option.
The Workers Union Says
It does not take much imagination to see how important transport workers are to the prospects of our country. They design, maintain and deliver services that enable goods and people to underwrite our economic activity.
But transport thinking in this country is often muddled. Too often resources are ploughed into the capital, while the regions suffer stagnation and underinvestment. Too often the fractured nature of the rail and bus networks have made a truly integrated travel plan difficult to achieve. And now, with the need to meet our climate goals increasingly pressing, we are wrestling with a shortage of the skilled workers we need to help ameliorate the worst effects of the crisis.
It is with some feeling of optimism, then, that we look forward to reading the results of the government’s consultation. The sector will be at the heart of driving innovation and change in the way that we do business, but it needs more than a tender pat on head to make this ambition a reality. Certainly the resources are there in the genius of the British people; now its time to a deliver coherent plan to unleash them.