Rail skills success for East Ayrshire students

Trainees and tutors at the QTS Rail Skills Academy

THE first programme of the QTS Rail Skills Academy has successfully completed, with 10 young people now equipped with the skills required to join the rail industry.  

The Academy, delivered by QTS Training and funded through the East Ayrshire Council’s Young Person Guarantee programme, launched in May 2022 and was delivered over a nine-week period from QTS’ Drumclog HQ.  

This training allowed the young people the opportunity to gain recognised railway competencies, including PTS and Track Induction as well as health and safety, small tools and first aid. This initial cohort completed five weeks of classroom training as well as four weeks of onsite work experience, designed to equip them with the understanding of the industry. 

From this group of young people, five have been employed by QTS and the other five have been offered opportunities with other rail companies including McCulloch Group, A McKie Builders and Nelson Track Solutions.  

Lorna Gibson, Director of QTS Training, said: “We are so incredibly proud of the 10 young people who have grasped this opportunity with both hands. They have worked so hard over the nine weeks and to see them grow and develop has been a fantastic experience.”  

“In partnership with East Ayrshire Council, we have been able to give them the chance to start their careers within rail, while also working to bridge the skills gap that currently exists with the industry.” 

“I look forward to watching them continue to thrive and also to welcoming our next cohort later this month.” 

One of the Skills Academy graduates, Jamie Fulton, has now moved into a role within the QTS civils department.  

He said: “The Rail Skills Academy has been an incredible opportunity to be able to enter the railway industry. The skills I’ve learned along the way will stay with me throughout my career. The opportunities the academy gives you are endless and I’m glad to have been a part of it.” 

The inaugural programme culminated in a celebration event with a number of rail industry employers joining the QTS team to meet the young people and discuss employment opportunities with them. 

Trainees attending the Rail Skills Academy receive a £55 per week training allowance, together with lunch subsistence. Transport is also arranged where required to assist with travel to the QTS HQ at Drumclog, Lanarkshire. 

The Rail Skills Academy is open to anyone aged 18-24 who lives within the East Ayrshire area, with no formal training or experience required. QTS is currently working with other areas in Ayrshire to hopefully open up entry to the Academy to a wider group. 

For more information on future Skills Academy programmes contact janemcfadzean@qtsgroup.com and follow QTS Training on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. 

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