Rail sector: developing new competences for emerging occupational profiles.


The European Rail Skills Alliance came together at the University of Genoa (Italy) to discuss the long-term strategy to address skill shortages in the rail sector.


Partners of the 4-year project “Skill Training Alliance For the Future European Rail System” (STAFFER) came together on the 23rd and 24th of May at the University of Genoa (Italy) to assess the project’s progress on the preparation of a long-term action plan to address skill gaps and shortages in the rail sector.

On the occasion of the general meeting of STAFFER ERASMUS+ project, coordinated by Professor Angela Di Febbraro from the University of Genoa, Department of Mechanical, Energy, Management and Transportation Engineering, over 40 participants from the consortium met to share outputs and exchange opinions on next steps.

Speakers included representatives from business, education and training institutions, professional associations, and European institutions.


What are the main goals of the STAFFER project?

The railway sector is experiencing a severe skills shortage, and there is a strong need for reskilling and upskilling. Furthermore, a large share of the current workforce is expected to retire within the next 10 years.

The role of the STAFFER project is to identify current and future skills and competence needs according to the vision of the future rail sector.

The projects defined recommendations for existing and new training curricula and mobility programmes that will impart skills required for manufacturing, operating, and maintaining rail products, as well as more general ICT skills essential for the digitalisation of rail transport.

In detail, nine training paths and curricula at different EQF levels were developed, considering mobility and work-based learning in the rail industry.

Indicators and standardized procedures were identified to evaluate the existing and designed training programmes, focusing on the European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET) framework.

Finally, under the umbrella of the STAFFER project, strategies are created and implemented to address skills gaps and shortages, identifying emerging occupational profiles as well as designing a long-term action plan to be rolled out at the European, national, and regional levels.


STAFFER gathers 31 full partners and 15 associated partners from across the European rail community in a stakeholder partnership to address the rising demand for skills needed for technological developments in the green and digital transition of railways.

The project started in November 2020 with the support of the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and will last until October 2024.


Further information on the project can be found in this short, animated video.

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