UK parliamentarians roll up sleeves to join the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, launched today 

14 June 2018

An exciting new programme is being launched today which will give UK parliamentarians and influencers hands-on experience of the rail industry. Led by the sector’s trade body, the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme will promote the work of the organisations that build, maintain and enhance the UK’s railways.
The Programme will help educate politicians on the sector’s crucial importance to the UK by placing them at state-of-the-art sites, where highly skilled rail professionals will showcase the fascinating work they do. 

Participating “Fellows” will spend a day on location with one of RIA’s world-class member companies, whose work is relevant to their role or constituency. Participants will form The RIA Railway Fellowship Class of 2018 and will be recognised at the Annual RIA Parliamentary Reception, set to take place on 27 November. Already, Lilian Greenwood MP, Priti Patel MP, Alison McGovern MP and Luke Pollard MP have confirmed as founding members of the class of 2018, and more MPs are signing up. 

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: 

“UK rail has a great narrative to tell, but too often only negative stories are reported. The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is a fantastic opportunity to communicate this positive story to parliamentarians, so they can learn about the invaluable work which goes on and see for themselves the amazing progress our industry is making on innovation, skills and exports, and in delivering a world-leading rail network. 

“With over £36 billion being added to the economy every year from the rail industry, there is no doubt that rail is a highly important sector for the UK and it is important that it is recognised as such by policy makers, influencers and commentators. 
“It gives RIA great pleasure to welcome our founding “Fellows” to the RIA Rail Fellowship Class of 2018, and we look forward to confirming more participants over the summer.” 

Notes to Editors

  1. About the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme: The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is an exciting opportunity for UK parliamentarians and commentators to gain an insight into the valuable work of the UK rail supply chain at a RIA Member location. “Fellows” spend a day ‘on location’ with a RIA Member whose work is relevant to their role or constituency and experience opportunities reflecting the great diversity of technical disciplines within the rail sector. Candidates are gaining an invaluable understanding of a diverse workforce that together contribute £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people. More information can be found here
  2. About Rail: Rail is vital for UK plc. The sector contributes £36 billion in economic growth, £11 billion in tax revenues each year – excluding capital investment this means it more than pays for the cost of the railway – and employs 600,000 people, which is more than the workforce of the whole of Birmingham. It is also a growing industry, where passenger journeys have doubled over the last 20 years and freight increased by 80%, with journeys expected to double over the next 25 years. 
  3. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has more than 200 companies in membership, in a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.

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