The National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure (NCATI) welcomed the Minister of State for Transport, Andrew Stephenson MP, to its Birmingham Campus (Wednesday 7 July).
The Minister, whose portfolio includes HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and skills, attended both NCATI and the University of Birmingham to find out more about railway research and expertise in Birmingham.
NCATI joined the University of Birmingham group at the end of April this year, heralding a special collaboration between further and higher education. This collaboration is enabling NCATI to draw on the University’s internationally-recognised rail expertise, working together to help address the sector’s skills gaps.
During his visit, Mr Stephenson toured the campus and met learners and staff. He also spent time with the College’s senior leadership team, the College Chair, Professor Stephen Jarvis, and also Professor Clive Roberts, Head of Engineering at the University of Birmingham, to discuss the collaboration and the key role the College will play in creating the next generation of skilled workers in the sector.
Mr Stephenson then headed over to the University to open a new purpose-built centre, designed to deliver specialist research in railway engineering. The Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems was delivered via a partnership between the University and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) with investment from Research England. Facilities include cab simulators, and a signalling control centre, as well as project labs, and other technologies that will enable high quality, fast-paced research, through proof-of-concept to demonstration and testing.
Mr Stephenson, whose portfolio includes responsibility for skills in the transport sector and also HS2, said: “This new Centre will have a pivotal role in ensuring our country’s proud rail engineering past continues into a bright future.
“It is vital that the UK is front and centre of transport innovation as we Build Back Better from the pandemic, and along with the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure, the Centre will provide valuable training, new skills and real opportunities for people entering the sector for the first time.”
Principal and Chief Executive of NCATI, Ian Fitzpatrick, who joined the College in May, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to the city to visit the College and the University. The Minister was excited to hear about the role we are well placed to deliver – relevant skills and training to address the sector’s skills gaps.”