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People 1st highlights need for transport to ‘open its doors’

The transport workforce is ageing, making it increasingly critical for the industry to employ the next generation of workers to meet future skills needs.

New research by People 1st, launched by transport minister Norman Baker, highlights that almost half of the current workforce is aged over 45, with just 15% under 30. The report suggests developing clear career pathways to allow younger people to see how entry level positions can lead to other roles.

A high demand has been forecast for customer service and basic IT skills. Training is essential, the research states, with 54% of staff needing to improve their customer handling skills. 37% of employers say that new technology has contributed to skills gaps, while 43% blame a lack of staff motivation.

Baker said: “It is vital to have the right people with the right skills in order to maximise the productivity and performance of any sector. Transport is no exception.

“I am impressed with the work taking place to improve the skills of the people who keep our transport system running and it is clear employers are making serious investments into the future of our industry.”

Brian Wisdom, chief executive at People 1st said: “With many employees nearing retirement age and transport businesses foreseeing an increase in demand for transport and machine operatives, such as train drivers and maintenance operatives, it’s time for the sector to open its doors to younger people.

“There are many roles in the rail sector and all require varying degrees and types of skills, not just technical. Entry-level roles where softer skills such as customer service are required can be a great stepping stone for careers in the industry.

“But it is only by having in place strong career pathways that we can demonstrate to people how the sector can support their development and provide them with an exciting and varied career.

“Not only employers are in a position where they simply have to employ new people if they want to be able to operate in the future, but attracting a younger workforce can also help broaden markets.”

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