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Local DExEU Minister becomes Rail Fellow with visit to National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR)

4 February 2019

Local Daventry MP and Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union Chris Heaton-Harris MP visited the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) and Siemens Traincare Facility in Northampton on Friday 1 February as part of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) Rail Fellowship Programme.

From left to right: Darren Caplan, Chief Executive, Railway Industry Association (RIA); DExEU Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP; Paul Ryan, Fleet Delivery Manager, Siemens & Simon Rennie, General Manager, National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR)

During his visit, the Minister toured the Academy to find out how the rail industry is working together to develop leading apprenticeship standards and to develop skills. He also was able to see Siemens Traincare Facility, where the company maintains its Class 350 Desiro fleet which ranks among the country’s most reliable trains. 

The visit was part of the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, which is showcasing the work of the UK rail supply chain by allowing Parliamentarians and influencers to gain hands-on experience in the industry. A number of MPs have now taken part in the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, as decision makers line up to pledge their support for the UK rail industry.

The Minister met with apprentices studying at the Academy and saw the innovation in technology and toolsets used at the site. 

DExEU Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP said: “Visiting the National Training Academy for Rail and Siemens’ Traincare Facility, as part of RIA’s Rail Fellowship Programme, today was a great opportunity. I was able to see up close how the rail industry is helping to generate highly valuable skills for young people and why this site is so vital a resource in building up the UK’s skills capabilities as we prepare to leave the European Union. Thank you to the whole team for a fascinating day.”

Simon Rennie, General Manager, National Training Academy for Rail said: “We were delighted to host the Minister at Northampton – both to demonstrate how government funding has helped create a first class facility that serves the wider rail industry and also the way in which employer-led collaboration has defined and delivered new standards of vocational education. It was also great to showcase how new skills are being put into practice in the workplace, in support of both the Government and industry’s strategies.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said: “We were delighted to have the Minister join the Rail Fellowship Programme to see the important work of the rail industry. Organisations like NTAR and Siemens show how the industry is leading the way in terms of skills development, innovation and new technology – and it was wonderful to be able to show their facilities to the Minister today.”


Notes to Editors 

  1. About NTAR: NTAR is a joint project between the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR), and government, with industry partner Siemens. The academy plays a leading role in the new railway skills development programmes being driven by NSAR – working with the market to make sure that industry priorities are met. We specialise in vital traction and rolling stock training: offering unrivalled facilities and courses, with our Northampton centre acting as a hub to support and deliver services to customers across the country.
  2. About the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme: The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is an exciting opportunity for UK parliamentarians and commentators to gain an insight into the valuable work of the UK rail supply chain at a RIA Member location. “Fellows” spend a day ‘on location’ with a RIA Member whose work is relevant to their role or constituency and experience opportunities reflecting the great diversity of technical disciplines within the rail sector. Candidates are gaining an invaluable understanding of a diverse workforce that together contribute £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people. Previous visits include:
    a. Luke Pollard MP (LAB | Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport) visited Vortok Pandrol, Plymouth
    b. Alison McGovern MP (LAB | Wirral South) visited Wabtec Faiveley, Birkenhead
    c. Lilian Greenwood MP (LAB | Nottingham South) visited Balfour Beatty, Network Rail and East Midlands Trains, in partnership with Rail Forum Midlands
    d. Priti Patel MP (CON | Witham) visited Bombardier Transportation, Ilford
    e. Stephen Hammond MP (CON | Wimbledon) visited Hitachi Rail Europe, Ashford
    f. Martin Vickers MP (CON | Cleethorpes) visited British Steel and AD Comms, Scunthorpe  
    g. Jack Brereton MP (CON | Stoke-on-Trent South) visited DB Cargo and ABB, Stoke
  3. About the Railway Industry Association (RIA): The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has some 250 companies in membership, in a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.
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