What impact has COVID-19 had on railway training in 2021?

  1. Not a year many of us wish to repeat, that’s for sure.

It’s been tough for everyone, and we’ve all had to adapt the ways we go about our daily lives – with face masks and social distancing becoming the norm. But what has the coronavirus pandemic meant for those keen to pursue a career in the railway industry? And can rail training providers continue to deliver training for aspiring candidates?

Here we attempt to clear up the confusion surrounding railway training and COVID-19 and provide the answers to your burning questions…

Training centres remain open

Non-essential shops might have closed their doors to the general public for lockdown 3.0, but this is merely not the case for training providers like us at Real Skills.

Railway training plays a huge part in ensuring organisations have a competent workforce at their disposal. Training courses – such as Personal Track Safety (PTS), first aid and small plant tools – provide candidates with the required knowledge and skill to work efficiently and safely when on, or close to, the railway line.

Whilst some elements of railway training can be completed online, some competencies are best-delivered face-to-face. That’s why our training facility remains open and we have implemented a number of measures to ensure the safety of our colleagues and learners. In line with updated government requirements these can include:

  • smaller class sizes to maintain social distancing, with masks and/or face coverings available if required
  • hand sanitisers available across the premises
  • frequent deep cleans of high traffic areas and touchpoints

New methods of learning

At Real Skills, we deliver a comprehensive range of railway training courses for those eager to start work on the railways and workers looking to advance their career and gain new skills. We aim to make learning as accessible as possible for everyone.

Though we often conduct our rail training in-house at our training centre in Liverpool, or on-site at your facility, we appreciate that some delegates may not wish to travel or book overnight stays. That’s why we are working hard to create as much online content as possible – including virtual learning, e-learning and blended learning.

Virtual learning is where the programme is taught from the classroom, virtually. This way individuals can still benefit from trainers expertise and make the most of interactive tools, from the safety of their home.

E-learning is another great way to broaden knowledge and understanding. Delegates will watch educational videos and complete online assessments to test their wisdom.

And, lastly, blended learning is a mix of online and classroom-based learning. The majority of our courses include a combination of online learning, hands-on experience and assessments – allowing candidates to demonstrate what they have learnt from our trainers. Certain skills can only be taught face-to-face, and some assessments can only be carried out in front of a trainer (not behind a computer screen!).

If, for whatever reason, a course is cancelled, we will let all delegates and line managers know at the earliest convenience. And if you have any concerns about attending railway training during the pandemic, get in touch with us (or your sponsor) to discuss your options, we will try to provide flexibility the best way we are able to in line with specific course attendance requirements, which are regulated by NSAR and Network Rail.

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