Government calls for industry leaders and the wider public to help find and train the next generation of transport leaders

A 12-week consultation will help to better understand the future skills needed to boost diversity, plug the skills gap and promote careers across the industry, with participants able to post their views and ideas.

A new taskforce, launched during National Apprentice Week 2022, will lead the charge on promoting careers and aims to create thousands of opportunities for the next generation of talent.

Minister of State for Transport, Andrew Stephenson said: “We want the brightest and best to join the transport sector, and these plans will super-charge apprentice schemes and other training routes and help attract top talent from the full spectrum of society.

“This taskforce will break down barriers to the leaders of the future who will deliver services that are essential to keep our country and economy moving.”

The taskforce will be led by Rachel Skinner CBE, the youngest ever President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and only the second woman to hold the role. She will work alongside a representative group of industry leaders from across the transport sector.

She will also look to improve diversity in the industry, where women make up just 20% of the workforce and ethnic minorities are still underrepresented. The taskforce will look to overhaul how, and where, we find future transport professionals.

She said: “I know how challenging, rewarding and fascinating working within the transport sector can be, particularly at the forefront of our net zero transition.

“It’s well-known that a more diverse and inclusive workforce increases creativity, collaboration and productivity, and I’m excited to use my experience to ensure people from underrepresented groups can build brilliant careers in transport.”

The announcement comes as HS2 says it’s on course to smash its target of 2,000 apprentices during the lifespan of the project, with 825 new starters already on board less than 18 months after main works construction began.

Associated British Ports, the UK’s leading port operator, has also launched its apprentice programme for 2022, offering exciting maritime industry roles across its 21 locations. Meanwhile, Logistics UK bosses have urged members to take advantage of apprentice schemes to tackle industry shortages.

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