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Despite widespread calls for Theresa May to back HS3, the project is destined to fail unless more is done to ensure the rail industry has the talent it needs to meet anticipated demand.

That’s according to One Way, the leading rail and construction recruitment specialist, which warns that at a time when the industry is already contending with major skills shortages, future projects such as HS3 are already being jeopardised.

Paul Payne, managing director of One Way, comments.

“The existing rail workforce is already being stretched by a combination of skills shortages and an uptick in the number of projects being given the green light. Crossrail has already driven major demand for rail expertise and it’s likely that if HS3 is commissioned, the current workforce won’t have capacity to fill all the roles required. These projects could probably be handled if they were happening consecutively, but it will be near-on impossible to meet demand if they are taking place concurrently.”

“That means there is now a much greater need for employers to think about their talent pipelines into the industry and consider how they can bolster their workforces to meet the anticipated demand. Currently, there is nowhere near enough specialists in the market and with alternative, tech-focused skill sets likely to be more sought after in the coming years, it’s important for employers to start acting now. The project would probably be a good move for the economy, particularly in the north, but we need to be realistic and consider whether we actually have the resources to make it a reality.”

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