Tom Brown knows a lot about our qualifications in Track and Rail. He works at Pinehirst Education and Training – a not for profit organisation specialising in providing courses to get people back into work, which is also an Open Awards centre. I want to understand how the Skills for Track and Rail Maintenance qualifications are delivered and how they impact learners. As Pinehirst worked with Open Awards to develop the Track and Rail suite I gave Tom a call. He was more than happy to help.
We started off using the Skills for Further Learning and Employment qualification (SFLE) which was okay but didn’t cover the specific rail based content that we wanted. We have our own section of track and a rail yard – we are hands on and wanted this to be recognised. This is why we approached Open Awards and they worked with us to develop the Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates’ in Skills for Track and Rail Maintenance.
We wanted these qualifications to lead into employment so whilst on the programme learners are put forward to gain their Personal Track Safety (PTS) card – meaning that they can progress to a job on the railway when they finish. Learners are often young people who don't have jobs or adult ex-offenders. The Railway is unlike any other industry as there is less of a stigma in having a past – if you have completed your Track and Rail qualification, obtained your PTS card and work hard there is a future for you. As a consequence, these courses are extremely popular and always oversubscribed.
The programme also benefits the health of its learners’ as Tom explains further
A lot of our learners are young and have tended to make negative lifestyle choices like taking recreational drugs. You can’t take drugs and work on the railway – it’s just not tolerated. One condition of getting the PTS card is passing a random drugs test and as drugs often leave traces for months after they have been taken it is necessary to become drug free. Random drug testing and alcohol testing also takes place after learners have found employment – further providing an incentive to live a drug free life.
There have been many success stories. It really is a great qualification.
The Level 1 and 2 Certificates in Skills for Track and Rail Maintenance are changing the lives of learners at Pinehirst. If you would like to find out more click on the link here or give us a call on 0151 494 2072 and speak to a member of the team.
Many thanks to Tom Brown from Pinehirst Education Centre.