Not since the Fat Controller waved Thomas the Tank Engine off on his inaugural journey has there been so much railway activity in the UK. At the turn of the Century we saw the completion of the Jubilee Line extension, and now we have the addition of the new Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) and the Northern Line extension project. But all of these are overshadowed by what is to come next, HS2; the high-speed railway linking the North and South with fast, frequent and reliable connections, running between 8 out of Britain’s 10 largest cities.
How do the numbers stack up?
At the peak of the line’s phase 1 construction, it is estimated that HS2 is going to require 30,000 workers, 25,000 of those employed in construction alone. Now is the time for recruiters to turn their attention to this sector of construction and look towards the future. But there are some hurdles to jump first. Recruiting into the Railway sector isn’t straightforward. The nature of the job and the implicit dangers it brings means that there are strict regulations that recruiters need to abide by. Anyone who works on the railway must hold a valid Sentinel card and have at least a Primary Sponsor.
What is a Sentinel Card and why is a sponsor required?
Good question! A sentinel card is one of the premier safety systems in use across the Rail Industry. Effectively, it is a passport that allows workers to be employed to work on the UK’s rail infrastructure. The card ensures that a worker is competent, medically fit and has undergone the necessary safety training. The card is only available to an approved company (one that holds a valid RISQS accreditation), and that company has agreed to monitor working hours, issue Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and accept responsibility for that person on the Network Rail infrastructure – in other words, act as the sponsor.
Do I need to be RISQS Accredited to supply workers to Network Rail?
The short answer is yes, but, that is where Boomerang Funding™ can help. Obtaining RISQS accreditation is a long and complex process, and for many recruiters, it is an automatic barrier to recruiting for this sector. Boomerang have obtained RISQS accreditation and have the ability to sponsor workers allowing them to go trackside. We can help recruiters have instant access to the rail industry without the need to go down the time consuming and costly path of obtaining this accreditation for themselves.
What about workers who have already worked trackside?
An existing rail worker who already holds the minimum Personal Track Safety card (PTS) and Industry Common Induction competency (ICI) can be sponsored by Boomerang Funding™ on your behalf. We issue workers with the relevant PPE, monitor their work hours, issue relevant handbooks, complete medical questionnaires and can arrange for drug and alcohol testing along with any updated training requirements.
What about a worker who is new to railway work?
If you have a skilled worker, such as an electrician or engineer, but they have not had any previous trackside experience, alongside our training partners we can help workers obtain a Sentinel Card and obtain the necessary PTS and ICI training modules. We can then act as their sponsor to allow them to work trackside.
What skills is HS2 looking for?
The majority of workers required by HS2 will be from a construction background. Firstly there is the construction of stations, structures and tunnelling which will account for 60% of the workforce and will require tradespeople with a variety of skills and specialities. 8% will have a background in rail line construction or Permanent Way, Signalling and telecoms make up 2% of the workforce and electrification and plant, 1%.
What are the benefits of working with Boomerang Funding?
We understand only too well the difficulties companies face when they are looking to branch out into the world of contracting, which is why we offer risk-free funding and complete peace of mind to recruiters. Add to this our ability to help you place workers in the booming construction sector that is the railway infrastructure, you can rest assured that the future of your business is in safe and experienced hands.
For further information, help or advice, contact Darren Harding on 01527 962739.
Rail Manager at Boomerang Funding™ – providing recruiters with instant access to the Rail Industry.