At the RIA Future Focus Conference, The UK Rail Minister, Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, called for more digital skills and workforce diversity in the rail industry. The Minister said the rail industry has a requirement for 50,000 new workers by 2033 to replace retiring workers and to adapt to changes in technology.
“The shape of transport has dramatically changed by digital disruptors. Rail travel is part of a single journey paid for on a mobile phone through a single platform that allows passengers to seamlessly travel from one mode of transport to another,” the Minister said.
He explained that “if the industry is to continue to thrive it needs to become more nimble and ready to quickly respond to these changes. It’s a world in which the expertise of suppliers will play an increasingly important role and one that holds a wealth of opportunities.”
During the conference, the minister also addressed topics including the ‘boom and bust’ model of funding and how to smooth out the process for supply chain companies, as well as the need to address the lack of a visible enhancements pipeline. He also addressed the environmental impact of diesel trains, amongst other topics.
The conference is organized during the Railtex 2019, the 14th International Exhibition of Railway Equipment, Systems and Services, taking place from 14th to 16th May 2019 at The NEC Birmingham.
The face of UK rail is changing, with a growing demand for modern and improved systems and assets fuelling an overhaul of the country’s network. Large scale projects including the HS2 high-speed line, Crossrail 2 and Transport for the North’s GBP 70 billion (EUR 80.8 billion) masterplan, as well as extensive government aspirations for CP6, lead the way for market growth, and the scope for new business opportunities is huge.
At Railtex 2019, with over 400 exhibitors from 22 countries showcase railway equipment, systems and services.