AROUND 60,000 transport jobs will need to be filled across the region in the next 15 years, a report has revealed.
Research commissioned by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) shows how the region will need to find new workers to help design, build and operate the region’s rail, road, bus and tram networks by 2035.
But while the report by the National Skills Academy for Rail highlights the huge job opportunities for those with the right training it also sets out the scale of the challenge in closing the region’s existing transport skills gap.
Now TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has launched a Transport Skills Academy programme to work with the transport industry and training providers to ensure the region’s young people can gain the wide range of skills needed to take up well-paid and secure jobs in the sector.
Projects such as HS2 and TfWM’s five-year infrastructure investment programme means there will be an demand for skilled workers.
This growing workforce will be required across a range of careers including software designers and engineers, digital specialists, transport planning and design, construction and maintenance and day-to-day operations.
The Transport Skills Academy will pull together the range of work experience, training and apprenticeship opportunities already available, as well as seek out new opportunities and programmes to further close the skills gap and meet demands for work.
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said: “The sheer scale of transport infrastructure projects underway here is quite remarkable and will unlock new employment avenues for local residents.
“Whether it’s HS2 – under construction and already employing 7,000 people – or the unprecedented investment into our transport system over the next decade – including new railway stations, tram lines, bus services and cycle routes – there is a lot to get involved with.
“Our region has already made great progress in providing pathways into the transport workforce – for example through the Rail Training Centre at the City of Wolverhampton College and the electric vehicle training centre in Walsall.
“Now this new Transport Skills Academy will enable us – alongside our partners in industry – to develop even more vital training schemes that help us to continue to make the most of our investment in transport.”
The WMCA say the need for new workers is also being driven by an ageing workforce in the transport industry as of the 41,783 workers in the region’s road, rail and bus sectors, 35 per cent are over the age of 50 and nearing retirement.
The authority added at the same time, fewer than 13 per cent are under 30, meaning there are significant opportunities for the region’s younger people.