Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Mike Brown will chair the Government’s Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce, the transport secretary has announced.
In a speech to the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Chris Grayling said that by 2020 the country will need ‘an extra 15,000 road-building professionals of all kinds, including thousands of new engineers’, as part of extra 56,000 skilled workers needed in the transport sector.
He pointed out that in that year the Roads Investment Strategy will hit peak construction, as will TfL upgrade and extension projects and Phase One of HS2.
Mr Grayling said ‘the shortage we’re facing is one compounded by demography’, but he added: ‘We are going to solve the skills shortage.’
The transport secretary announced that Mr Brown, commissioner of TfL, had agreed to chair the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce, which ministers set up this year ‘to help address the skills challenge in a co-ordinated way, drawing on ideas and experience across the transport industry, and to monitor the progress we’re making’.
He added: ‘Mike will continue to drive the collaboration that we started when we published the strategy. And he will hold us all to account on progress, starting by publishing an annual report in the spring.’
Mr Grayling warned companies operating in the sector that they ‘must prepare to leave a skills footprint in this country’ if they want to win contracts in transport and be part of the Government’s investment programme.
Mr Brown was appointed as TfL commissioner in September 2015, having become interim commissioner in July last year following Sir Peter Hendy CBE's appointment as chairman of Network Rail.