Accrington & Rossendale College has officially opened a brand new, specially designed railway maintenance track aimed at fast-tracking unemployed adults into well-paid, skilled careers for life within the rail industry.
The real-to-life track, which has seen disused land transformed to produce the spectacular new facility, is part of the college's unique and exciting new Railway Maintenance Programme, which is the first of its kind in Lancashire.
The rail maintenance and repair course, which runs Monday to Friday over an 8-week period, will include classroom learning at Lancashire Adult Learning in Brierfield, while the practical element will see students partake in a number of activities at the new site in Accrington including changing sleepers and repairing the railway track
Also included in the course is a full set of Network Rail approved PPE, a Network Rail approved medical, basic hand tools training, first aid and manual handling, plus much more.
The programme, which has been running for just over a year using a track site in Liverpool, has seen learners move into employment with a range of companies including McGinleys, Vital Rail and DF Brickwork. The average starting salary for labour roles in the industry is £12-£15 per hour, with great opportunities to develop and upskill.
To apply for Accrington & Rossendale College's Railway Maintenance Programme, call: 01254 354 423 or email: Richard.Dwyer@NelsonGroup.ac.uk
Lisa O'Loughlin, principal and CEO of the Nelson and Colne College Group which includes Accrington and Rossendale College and Lancashire Adult Learning commented: "This is an incredibly exciting day here at Accrington and Rossendale College. This is a fantastic eight-week programme that enables people to move from unemployment, to full sustained employment in a very short space of time. They can then move on to exciting careers supporting national and regional infrastructure projects."
Tom Gee, head of curriculum for employability, volunteering and skills, said: "We are delighted to have officially opened our brand new railway track today here at Accrington & Rossendale College.
"The transformation of disused land into this spectacular real-to-life rail track will provide fantastic practical training for people enrolling on our 8-week rail maintenance and repair course."
Sara Britcliffe, MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden, said: "The railway track is the first of its kind in the area and it's fantastic to see just what we're developing here in Hyndburn.
"The Railway Maintenance Programme, also the first of its kind in Lancashire, is aimed at fast-tracking unemployed adults aged 19+ into well-paid, skilled careers for life within the railway industry, which is a wonderful opportunity for our local people."
Rt Hon Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, commented: "It has been an extremely special day here at Accrington & Rossendale College and we can't wait to see this fantastic programme in action, both here in Accrington for the practical side of things, and in Brierfield for the classroom learning which will take place at Lancashire Adult Learning.
"We need more people with the skills to deliver major infrastructure projects. This is the fastest way for people aged 19+ to move from unemployment into a skilled position, and for anyone that is interested, I highly recommend that you get in touch with the college."
To learn more about Accrington & Rossendale College, part of the Nelson and Colne College Group, on their website: https://www.accross.ac.uk/