Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis today welcomed the creation of a new National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering, which has been announced by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.

The academy will receive nearly £3m of Government investment through the Skills Funding Agency and has the support of organisations including Network Rail, Transport for London, Rail Freight Group, the Rail Industry Association and the Association of Train Operating Companies.

Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said:

“The creation of this new academy is very timely. Just last week I set out proposals for a new high speed rail network linking London to Birmingham, Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.

“Building and maintaining this network would not only create significant new opportunities for the UK’s design, engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors, it would require a new generation of skilled railwaymen and women.

“Over the next twenty to thirty years the UK will require a step-change in transport capacity and connectivity. We believe high speed rail is the way to achieve this step change and this Rail Academy will help provide the skills we would need to make it a reality.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has also approved a Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, London, to be run by Crossrail. The new facility will receive £5m public funding and will develop new courses and qualifications, providing training for up to 1800 people a year.