How Transferable Skills Can Support The Rail Industry For The Next Decade

August 10, 2020

The current Worldwide Pandemic has significantly affected international travel, tourism and explicitly the aviation industry. Within this sector, there are many highly skilled technical personnel, cabin crew, logistics, supply chain, planners through to staff with Finance, IT, Sales & Marketing and other backgrounds. The aviation industry has several commonalities with the rail sector; Safety is paramount, quality is essential and is a highly regulated environment. Aircraft engineers, for example, have excellent “hand-skills” and technical knowledge, there is a mix of more maintenance-biased personnel and electrically-biased personnel. For Rolling Stock manufacturers and also for Tier 1/Tier 2 Rail Infrastructure organisations, there is never a better time to find people with highly transferable skillsets. With expected shortfalls of skilled personnel to meet the requirements of CP6, HS2 and other rail projects, it makes sense to look at other industries such as aviation and automotive.

Additionally there are thousands of ex-forces service leavers who have had excellent training and experience whilst serving. These skillsets are also highly transferable and with some investment in training, they could suit many areas of the Rail sector including rolling stock, signalling, telecoms, electrification and systems.

Bostonair Group has over 20 years’ experience in sourcing and placing high quality technical staff in the aviation sector, and in the last 10 years within the fast growing wind-energy sector. Over 35% of the staff within the Boston Energy business are ex-armed forces, including the Department Head, Julian Cattermole who is himself an ex-Marine.


Boston Rail are part of the Bostonair Group, we have access to thousands of highly skilled candidates from aviation, wind energy and the rail sector. For each person we recruit we put together a training plan and investigate how we can upskill them. For example, this could be a 2-year entry level Signalling programme, to bring a new entrant into the rail sector, invest in all their training and IRSE licence, and then at the end of the 2-year period the organisations we work with have the opportunity of employing these personnel permanently. This adds significant value to the supply chain of the sector, through working with Rail training providers and IRSE assessors (we effectively are investing in the sector). Boston Rail will always look to add value with every candidate we place, and ensure that our customers are presented with the highest quality candidates.

We also will assess all candidates we place that already have rail sector experience, and put together a training plan to help take them to the next level in their area of expertise be it Rolling Stock, Signalling, Telecoms or Electrification. This way the rail organisations we work with have the benefit of knowing that a candidate’s training is taken care of and there is the opportunity to upskill candidates which will add greater value to their organisation, and help meet the demands of forthcoming projects.

Bostonair Group’s strategic way of working has been highly successful in the sectors in which we operate, we believe that transferable skillets can support the rail industry for the next ten-years and can be achieved through using technical skills from associated industries, developing existing talent and utilising ex-forces service leavers. With so much experience at delivering excellent outcomes for our customers we would be delighted to talk to you to see how we can help, whether you are looking for a different type of contingent labour supplier or are a candidate looking for a new opportunity.

More information can be found at and CV’s can be sent to

If you’d like to discuss any manpower opportunities you may have please contact our Head of Rail, Tom Anderton at

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