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Rail Supply Group’s strategy targets doubling of UK rail industry exports, drive economic growth and create thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships

The Rail Supply Group (RSG), the Department for Transport and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills supported group tasked with delivering opportunities for the UK rail supply chain, has this month launched its strategy document setting out plans to ‘radically’ transform the rail supply industry to make the UK a global leader in the sector.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Managing Director of Alstom UK & Ireland Terence Watson, the Rail Supply Group (RSG) – the sector council representing the plan to improve productivity and secure the future of the UK rail supply chain – presented the plan at an event on 1 February at the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) in Coventry hosted by Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

The strategy aims to support suppliers of all sizes by improving the conditions across the supply chain. It sets out the RSG’s plan to implement its Productivity Pledge, which commits the rail supply sector to deliver:

  • a strategic approach to procurement and planning
  • a clear plan to drive world-class UK technologies
  • a coherent skills plan to attract the best talent and increase productivity
  • a comprehensive package of support for SMEs
  • a fresh, co-ordinated approach to increase exports and inward investment

Strong rail sector supply chain essential for future productivity

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and co-chair of the Rail Supply Group said, ”The UK was a rail industry pioneer and this strategy will ensure we are global leaders for years to come.”

”A strong rail sector supply chain is essential for our future productivity and the commitment to take on 20,000 new apprentices will provide opportunities for our young people to start successful careers in this vital sector.”

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport and co-chair of the Rail Supply Group said, ”We are funding the biggest rail modernisation programme since Victorian times which is creating opportunities for UK suppliers across the country. We support the rail industry’s plans to strengthen our supply chain so British companies can win more work here and abroad.”

”Rail Supply Group’s focus on developing a skilled rail workforce is very welcome. Our priority is to attract the nation’s talent to the industry and to equip them with the skills to deliver on our commitment to build a world class transport infrastructure system.”

Terence Watson, Managing Director of Alstom UK & Ireland and Rail Supply Group Industry co-chair said, ”As an industry we must use them to kick-start a new wave of UK manufacturing and exporting prowess, maximising the benefit to UK PLC. That’s why we are pledging today (1 February 2016) to work together to double the industry’s export volumes, drive economic growth and create thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships across the country.”

RSG brings together the private sector and government

The RSG brings together private sector leaders from large and small businesses across the rail industry with government. The rail sector generates £3.4 billion for the UK economy each year and its supply chain directly employs over 124,000 people, with many more employed in the rail sector as a whole.

The RSG Strategy

The RSG’s sector strategy document sets out the group’s plan to:

  • improve market conditions for the rail supply sector by securing greater visibility of planned investments with government and improving procurement approaches
  • accelerate the uptake of innovation in the supply chain by promoting effective collaboration between clients and suppliers and improving the UK’s capacity for testing and research
  • invest in people and skills, including developing a network of training centres, an industry talent pool and incentivising training through revised procurement approaches
  • grow exports and inward investment by working closely with government to improve access to foreign markets, clients and investors, as well as supporting smaller suppliers to export

RSG has committed to working closely with the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together Network Rail and passenger and freight operating companies, to coordinate progress in the rail industry as a whole.

Global sector growth forecast at 2.7% a year

The group said Rail journeys have doubled in the past 20 years to around 3.2 billion a year and significant future growth in freight and passenger traffic is expected, enhanced by major infrastructure works such as HS2, Crossrail and London.

The RSG’s strategy will support the sector to take advantage of positive trends in the global rail market, with global growth expected to be 2.7% a year, reaching £128 billion by 2019. This comes as government has committed to spend over £38 billion to maintain and improve the UK rail network by 2019 in the biggest modernisation programme for over a century.

RSG will review its strategy every 3 years and will work with a full range of groups to make sure it remains relevant for a growing industry.

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