NTAR is the UK’s international Centre of Excellence for skills development and collaborative working in traction and rolling stock. It is a partnership between Siemens, the National Skills Academy for Rail and the Departments for Transport and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Academy currently teaches 100 young engineers, including apprentices, graduates, and interns as well as providing training to 200 railway workers looking to upgrade their skills.
Mr Maynard saw some of the latest technology used by students at the academy, including virtual reality headsets, 3D digital modelling, and augmented reality tools.
He also used NTAR’s state of the art facilities to see first hand how ETCS digital signaling is revolutionising the railway.
ETCS digital signaling is already being used by Siemens on the London Underground to enable the Victoria line to run 34 trains per hour, making it one of the highest frequency metro lines in Europe.
The minister said: “From the tip of Scotland all the way to Cornwall, our rail system needs to be the best. This can only happen if we have the best engineers, the best trains and the very best customer service.
“That is why this government is investing more money in the railway than at any time since the Victorian era – another period when rail engineers and operators changed the way this country travels and does business.
“This is also why I am happy to support NTAR in its quest to develop the people needed to deliver a rail system that works for everyone. And why I have been so pleased to see the innovation and dedication going into delivering these aims.”
NTAR general manager Simon Rennie said: “With the demands of modern trains and new technology, the next generation of engineers need to be trained to the highest possible level.
"We are committed to ensuring our students and apprentices have the chance to build an exciting and fulfilling career within an ever-changing industry.”