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August 1, 2023

Unlocking Potential: How Apprenticeships Can Transform the Rail Industry

Unlocking Potential: How Apprenticeships Can Transform the Rail Industry

In an era marked by wage inflation pressures and the constant need for fresh, diverse talent, apprenticeships have emerged as a powerful solution for the rail industry. Neil Robertson, the Chief Executive of the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR), is on a mission to not only increase the number of apprenticeships but also to support employers in navigating the challenges associated with apprenticeship provision. In this article, we will explore NSAR's commitment to converting latent demand for apprentices into tangible opportunities and delve into their innovative service, Skills Match, designed to streamline apprentice recruitment and enhance the rail industry's workforce.

Bridging the Skills Gap

The rail industry faces a perennial challenge: the need for skilled professionals to maintain and expand its operations. Apprenticeships offer a potent remedy to this issue by providing a steady stream of fresh, motivated individuals who can infuse new perspectives and energy into the industry. As wage inflation pressures loom large, apprenticeships represent a cost-effective means of securing the skilled workforce needed to keep the rail sector on track.

Neil Robertson's Vision

At the forefront of this apprenticeship revolution is Neil Robertson, the visionary Chief Executive of NSAR. His unwavering passion for increasing the number of apprenticeships within the rail industry is driven by a desire to support both employers and aspiring apprentices. Robertson recognizes that apprenticeships not only benefit individuals by offering hands-on experience but also serve as a lifeline for employers grappling with workforce challenges.

A New Top Priority

NSAR's board, after thorough consultation with industry stakeholders, has set a new top priority: converting latent demand for apprenticeships into actual demand. This transformative goal seeks to bring about a paradigm shift in how the rail industry perceives and engages with apprenticeships. By harnessing untapped potential, NSAR aims to reshape the future of rail employment.

The Skills Match Service

Central to NSAR's innovative approach is the introduction of Skills Match, a groundbreaking service designed to eliminate barriers to apprentice recruitment. This service empowers employers by helping them identify their specific apprenticeship needs. By creating cohorts of individuals with complementary skills and aspirations, Skills Match ensures a seamless integration of apprentices into the rail industry.

Matching with Precision

Skills Match doesn't stop at merely identifying potential apprentices; it goes a step further by matching these individuals with the right training and education providers. This personalised approach ensures that apprentices receive the knowledge and skills required to excel in their roles. Moreover, NSAR provides support with apprentice procurement, ensuring a smooth onboarding process.


In a time when the rail industry faces mounting challenges, apprenticeships offer a glimmer of hope. Under the leadership of Neil Robertson and NSAR, the transformation of latent demand for apprentices into tangible opportunities is well underway. With the introduction of Skills Match, the barriers to apprentice recruitment are being dismantled, paving the way for a future where the rail industry thrives on fresh, diverse talent and sustainable growth. As the rail sector journeys towards a brighter future, apprenticeships are the locomotive propelling it forward.

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