Dame Margaret Beckett opened Alstom’s new Training Academy at its Derby site on 7 February, during National Apprenticeship Week. The facility follows a £250,000 investment during the last two years. Alstom says 120 new apprentices and graduates will join the company this year, each of whom will spend an initial three weeks at the Academy, and while the facility is based at the Litchurch Lane rolling stock factory it will be used by staff from the Services and Signalling and Train Control divisions as well. Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s MD for UK & Ireland, said Derby is a key site within Alstom’s global footprint, a factor cemented by the location of the Academy.
The Academy has 18 permanent teaching staff and offers 1,600 square metres of practical learning space. As well as four classrooms it includes a training hall featuring an Aventra EMU carriage and cab where apprentices can gain practical experience working on carriages before joining a live manufacturing team. Mike Hulme, Alstom’s MD for the Derby site, told Modern Railways the facility is not just about apprenticeships but will also be used to upskill existing staff. He noted that the Aventra EMU is based on bolted construction, so bolting and torquing will form a key part of the training for staff. In addition to the initial investment, Alstom plans to spend a further £200,000 developing the academy.