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Home People Putting rail organisations on the right track with their training

Putting rail organisations on the right track with their training

About RSSB

RSSB is the UK rail industry’s independent voice on safety and standards. Established in 2003 to implement recommendations from Lord Cullen’s public enquiry into the Ladbroke Grove accident, the company is member-owned and member-funded.

The company’s constitution restricts full membership to companies whose work includes supply or support to, or operation of the railway in Great Britain. Affiliation is offered to companies who want to benefit from some of the advantages of membership but do not meet the criteria for membership.


One of the many benefits for members and affiliates is preferential access to training courses. The railway relies on high-calibre, competent professionals at the top of their game. RSSB leverages the expertise and knowledge of trainers who are leaders in their field to offer high-quality courses that help build industry’s competencies. The training courses are delivered by technical leaders that designed them, and they are regularly updated to reflect the ever-changing environment of the rail sector.

Training courses – adapting learning to a new environment

COVID-19 has challenged our industry extensively over the last 18 months and many companies have had to reinvent themselves to move forward in an uncertain world. But the pandemic has also created opportunities for how the industry operates – especially in learning and development. Employers still needs to build, grow and refresh employees’ capabilities as they are critical to safety performance of GB rail. Restrictions with instructors and learners being able to meet face-to-face has resulted in creative ways for delivering training for staff development.

To support the rail industry to grow, refresh competencies and minimise skills fade, RSSB’s training courses have been developed to give members and affiliates the greatest flexibility for learning. All courses can be delivered in a face-to-face setting of the company’s choosing, or remotely. E-Learning courses are also available in some key topic areas such as mental health and non-technical skills. To see the full list of courses, visit

All training courses, regardless of the format of delivery, cover the same materials, case studies and group learning exercises. Courses blend practical application with academic theory and use industry-related case studies and interactive exercises. This approach enables delegates to gain knowledge and learn skills they can apply immediately at work.

Remote learning is here to stay. It has allowed RSSB’s trainers to create bite-size modules which can be delivered to small groups. This reduces learner fatigue and gives businesses more flexibility to schedule training. Employees are able to schedule training in with their day job. In addition, the modules are structured to facilitate reflective learning. Learners are also encouraged to seek further support from the trainers between modules, and to help them to apply the learning. This gives the best individual learning experience and supports the implementation of learning to individual roles.

Case study – remote training and Transport for Wales

An example of how remote learning and a modular approach benefited learners is the Risk-Based Training Needs Analysis (RBTNA) course that was delivered to Transport for Wales Rail Services (TfWRS) in May 2020.

TfWRS approached RSSB to help review and redevelop the RBTNA for its conductor role. The course was originally face-to-face delivery, but it was adapted into three two-hour sessions and delivered remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nicola Wilkinson, Commercial Training Manager, Transport for Wales Rail Services said: ‘Due to Covid-19, the training went from one day of face-to-face training to three bitesize sessions of two hours. However, this new approach allowed us time to reflect on our learning and apply the knowledge to our own RBTNA. The work we’ve done so far on our RBTNA has been enlightening and enabled us to consider alternative options for training and assessing our people going forward.’

Martyn Howells, Senior Conductor Manager, Transport for Wales Rail Services said: ‘The bitesize approach was invaluable. By focusing on one section at a time, the training effectively had built-in check points and gave me assurance that I fully understood each section before moving on to the next one. I cannot thank RSSB enough for using this approach for what is quite a complicated subject.’

All of RSSB’s training courses can be tailored to your organisation’s needs. Email to discuss your requirements and a member of the training team will be in touch.

Photo credit: RSSB

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