'First of its kind' training facility in county opens at East Lancs college

Sara Britcliffe and Andrew Stephenson have opened the new, first of its kind rail training facility in Lancashire at Accrington and Rossendale College <i>(Image: Accrington and Rossendale College)</i>
Sara Britcliffe and Andrew Stephenson have opened the new, first of its kind rail training facility in Lancashire at Accrington and Rossendale College (Image: Accrington and Rossendale College)

A new and unique training facility for people wanting to enter the rail industry is the first and only of its kind in the county.

Accrington and Rossendale College, a member of the Nelson and Colne College Group, has unveiled the training facility, aimed at fast-tracking locals with little to no prior experience and knowledge within rail and engineering, directly into lucrative jobs within the rail industry.

The real-to-life rail track, built on previously disused land at Accrington and Rossendale College’s Hyndburn campus, is part of a new 8-week employability programme, in partnership with Rail Futures.

The course comprises practical skill training, and is the first of its kind facility in Lancashire, alongside in-class theory teaching, which mostly takes place at the Lancashire Adult Learning facility in Brierfield.

The unveiling of this ground-breaking facility garnered attention from local community leaders, including Rt Hon Andrew Stephenson CBE, MP for Pendle and Rt Hon Sara Britcliffe, MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden.

Mr Stephenson said: “It was great to be at Accrington and Rossendale College to see Sara Britcliffe, the local MP, officially open this new facility.

“Having overseen the integrated rail plan, which is a £96bn investment in the railways of the Midlands and the North, I am acutely aware that one of the key catalysts for that plan to work is ensuring there are people with the skills to deliver these major infrastructure projects. I wholeheartedly commend the work of Accrington and Rossendale College, and everybody involved in bringing together this new training centre which will provide those skills that we need for the future”

Sara Britcliffe added: “The railway track is the first of its kind in the area and we are proud to have such a unique tool 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.”