Skills

A highly-skilled and loyal workforce ensures North East England’s rail sector has a ready and large talent pool. The region currently employs nearly 3,000 people in the rail sector and 115,000 are employed in the wider manufacturing sector. This ensures that international OEMs, such as Hitachi Rail EU, can attract the right talent and skills required for their global operations.

The North East offers significant cost savings when compared to other parts of the UK and Europe. Labour costs for an engineer are 45% cheaper than Berlin and Munich, 5% compared to Derby and 8% to York.

The region’s talent pool is strengthened by a wealth of students specialising in science and engineering subjects primed for the workplace. There are more than 100,000 students across the region’s five universities, with over half studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. Over 3,000 engineering graduates emerge from our universities each year (HESA 2017/18) and their high-level skills support the growth of higher-value aspects of advanced manufacturing.

The North East’s world-class universities and six colleges offer 130 different rail-related courses, and specialist research institutions located here support the development of the sector. For example, NewRail and the Transport Operations Research Group based at Newcastle University have been instrumental in delivering research for the UK rail sector.

Our universities and higher education institutions also work hand-in-hand with industry and business networks to develop and deliver bespoke training courses, giving the workers of the future the technical skills they need for the rail sector.

University Technical College South Durham educates students in STEM subjects and BTEC engineering, placing an emphasis on practical work experience in engineering and technology. The UTC is sponsored by Hitachi Rail, Gestamp-Tallent, as well as other local engineering employers and Sunderland University.

Newcastle Rail Academy at Newcastle College is a £5 million facility located in Gateshead that offers a range of specialist training courses dedicated to the rail industry for both full-time engineering students and bespoke professional training programmes.