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Northern Powerhouse investment must be channelled into skills development

Samuel Knight has welcomed the latest investment into the Northern Powerhouse economy, but warns that without channelling some of this budget into skills development, success will be limited.

Transport for the North (TfN) announced at the end of January that it will invest £70 billion into developing the transport infrastructure of the Northern Powerhouse in the next 30 years, supporting the intended creation of 850,000 jobs by 2050. However, according to Samuel Knight, the scarcity of skills to deliver these projects could be detrimental to these plans unless some of these finances are funnelled into talent development.

Associate director of Rail, David Allen, explained, “Its (sic) great news TfN are supporting the Northern Powerhouse economy. To make the most of this though, we really need a focus on a widening skills gap in the sector. Without a skilled workforce the projects risk being derailed. The cost of starting these projects and then failing on a workforce issue could cost £1bn over 10 years, or £300m in the next 5 years. 

“The funding available should have an allocated budget for building the skills gap in Universities and attracting top talent into the Rail industry. I’ve heard we are looking at needing double the amount of graduates in the sector, so clearly a lot of consideration, planning and action is needed in this area."

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