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Colas Rail UK and Intertrain bridge the skills gap with DfE Skills Bootcamps


In keeping with the UK’s move toward using Skills Bootcamps to address the escalating skills crisis in hardest-hit sectors, Colas Rail UK have partnered with Intertrain to deliver partially funded learning to the rail industry. 

Colas Rail UK is a leading railway infrastructure provider committed to keeping rail networks moving safely and reliably. The company, which currently holds the 10-year contract for South Rail Systems Alliance (SRSA) across three Network Rail regions in the south of the UK, provides end-to-end services in design, engineering, project management, construction and maintenance for light rail, metro, mainline and high-speed rail markets.

Colas Rail UK is a proud advocate of learning and development and is committed to investing in training and upskilling its people, engaging teams and improving retention. To further these efforts, they’ve introduced the Skills Bootcamps to their existing learning programmes, which already include a variety of apprenticeship and graduate scheme opportunities.

Directing the new learning and development initiative, David Anderson, Competence Manager at Colas Rail UK, is pleased to announce the launch of four preliminary bootcamps. Speaking of the initiative, Anderson says, “Apart from the benefit to rail employers, who can expect greater work production from a more competent workforce and the benefit to the employees, who can now progress further and earn more by upskilling, there’s also a significant benefit to the supply chain as a whole. The industry would benefit from improved safety performance and efficiency from fully-skilled track men.

He goes on to endorse the programmes, noting that the Department for Education (DfE) funded Skills Bootcamps make training available to a demographic of hard workers who would otherwise not be able to afford it. “As a result, what we can hope to see are more sophisticated railway applications, which are safer for both the passenger and the rail worker.

Skills Bootcamp participants emerge from training with more confidence in their skills, and greater incentive to work toward promotion and even further development. Aimed at building such competence and growth in rail and track infrastructure sectors through training and further apprenticeship, Colas Rail UK bootcamp options currently include:

  • Safety Critical Support Operative (10-day bootcamp)
  • P-Way Supervisor (18-day bootcamp)
  • On Track Plant Operative (10-day bootcamp)
  • Assistant Signalling Technician (20-day bootcamp)

The National Skills Fund covers 70% of the cost of these DfE Skills Bootcamps, leaving just 30% to the account of participating employers, and no cost to the learner.

Still in its early stages, Colas Rail UK has put a number of candidates through the training, with promising results. Colas Rail UK trackworker, Sebastian Clarke, provides feedback: “I really enjoyed the course and came away learning a great deal. The trainers were very engaging during group sessions, followed by useful one-to-ones. I feel that completing the course and gaining the competencies will help me progress in my career and take on more responsibility on-site. I would highly recommend it to anyone.” Both Skills Bootcamp learners are now on duty, working and earning more money as a result of gaining the additional skills and competencies.    

With Colas Rail UK so dedicated to the retention and upskilling of their staff, Anderson believes that Skills Bootcamps play an important role in bridging the skills gap in the UK. He anticipates funded schemes that are more streamlined, more flexible, and easily available to lower income earning and diverse candidates. 

Alex Pond, Managing Director at Intertrain says ‘The Department for Education (DfE) Skills Bootcamps are a brilliant and cost effective opportunity for our customers to address vital skills gaps within their businesses. They also provide opportunities for learners to gain new skills, enhance their careers and can lead onto higher paid jobs. Skills Bootcamps have been extended by the DfE until March 2023 at the earliest and we will be offering a new Skills Bootcamp from the New Year to bring in new entrants, who are either unemployed or aspiring to change their career, and will be guaranteed an interview with a railway employer.   


For more information about Colas Rail UK and Intertrain Skills Bootcamps, please visit www.railway-training-courses.com/dfe-skills-bootcamp or contact our Customer Service department on 0844 800 3397 (option 1) or email [email protected] 

For more information, media or press enquiries about Colas Rail UK, please visit www.colasrail.co.uk or contact [email protected]


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What do our trainees think

OLEC 2, Doncaster

Very well constructed and delivered, outstanding performance on the trainer's part, both in the classroom and out on the track. I would recommend Archie McNeill to anyone who wishes to learn about overheads - a terrific experience.

Zain Ahmad, Coyle
DCCR Initial, Crayford

Lee had an excellent practical and pragmatic approach towards training. I found him to be very knowledgeable, but more importantly he has fantastic knowledge transfer skills.

Umair Khan, Siemens Rail Automation
COSS Initial, Doncaster

I enjoyed the course, it was delivered to a high standard. Kev is an excellent trainer, he is informative and has a great sense of humour. His method of teaching was simplified and thorough - Great!

Thomas Smith, Amey Group Services Ltd
COSS Initial, Warrington

Very well run course, professionally presented. Good reminder of duties and responsibilities.

Mark Harris, ABC Electrification
COSS Initial, Enfield

Vic was a fantastic trainer, his knowledge of the industry is vast and his delivery was second to none. A great course and trainer - thanks!

Douglas Aitken, Balfour Beatty Rail Limited