The Great British Shake-Up: How Will the New GBR Model Affect the Way You Work?

At the end of May, the Government announced a series of major changes to the rail industry that has implications across the entire the supply chain. The new state-owned body Great British Rail or GBR, is set to replace National Rail as the manager of rail infrastructure in the UK and will also be given the responsibility over setting timetables, prices and ticket sales. The changes came after the Government undertook extensive reviews into the rail industry to identify inefficiencies and customer pain points, to make the experience better for customers and industry businesses alike. One of the pioneers of this change, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said GBR would replace an ‘overcomplicated and fragmented’ system, while the government said a more unified rail system would lead to more ‘high-quality, consistent services’ from 2023 onwards and better connections. So what are these changes and how will they affect the industry and the way you work? 

Structurally for the rail industry, the changes mean that GBR is set to replace the ‘fragmented’ Network Rail to create ‘one guiding mind’ to oversee the industry, according to Shapps, to allow for increased accountability. Complaints over the fragmented system arose in May 2018 after the chaotic introduction of new timetables. GBR, will instead look more like TFL, with multiple operators under one umbrella. Most rail services will still be run by the private sector but under new ‘passenger contracts’, where the passenger comes first and precise punctuality targets will have to be met for the first time. The customer-centric focus of the changes allows for a simplification of ticket purchasing and compensation; a greater digitalisation of the ticketing process; flexible season tickets and increased accessibility. However, Scotland and Wales will continue with a different model, with more independence but still under some GBR influence.  

Given these vast changes to the rail industry, it should be expected that companies all across the supply chain will have to change the way they work to accommodate this shift. Ticketing companies will have to work nimbly to restructure their processes to allow for these changes, while platform operators will have to design new, more accessible features. Ultimately, this means a reskilling boom is likely, as the industry goes into reshuffle. Just in time to help companies navigate through these vast changes, a new digital solution Competency Training MarketplaceTM, or ‘CTM’ has emerged on the market to be able to deal with upskilling staff easily. 

This platform, pioneered by Sopra Steria, a European leader in consulting, digital services and software development, was designed specifically with the rail industry in mind to combat challenges with finding and managing training. CTM combines a training marketplace with a competency management tool, in one easy-to-use, intuitive system that is completely free-of-charge for employers. CTM’S core features have been designed to transform, reskilling and upskilling employees into a smooth and seamless experience as the integrated marketplace is home to training providers, with currently over 1000 qualifications to choose from.  

Marketplace filters allow training managers or employers to choose the training in the right location after they’ve been emailed about an expiring competency. This notification comes from CTM’s ‘training matrix’, which managers can also log on to at any time. The training matrix takes the hard work out of tracking staff competencies, by visualising employee’s training status and providing clarity over who is the right fit for a project, based on qualification level and location.  

CTM’s analytics tools forecast exactly which competencies are expiring and provides emails alerts to ensure that training needs are being kept on top of. 

CTM was designed to give more employers a stress-free experience in the compliance, upskilling and training process and it is expected to grab more attention in the coming months and years, as more companies turn to the platform with the coming shifts in the industry. As companies aim to integrate GBR’s requirements into their way of working, through increased digitalisation, platform accessibility and everything in between; CTM is the perfect tool to make sure staff are fully compliant and sufficiently skilled to smoothly navigate these business changes 

Andy Barnes, the Engineering Director of Arcadis said: “CTM lets me keep track of my workforce’s competencies, supporting me to allocate people to projects on the basis of their knowledge, skills and experience. That is a key part of managing the risk to railway users when we are planning railway renewals or enhancements.” 

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This article was written for Railway-News