'Keeping up to date with the Old Way of Doing Things': Competence Management in the UK Heritage Railway Industry

Robert Baughan, Simon D. Smith, Martin Crapper, Fred Sherratt

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There are over 200 heritage railways throughout the UK, operated primarily by volunteers. To address recent accidents, the Heritage Railway Association has provided guidance on the management of competence, complementing that of the Office of Rail and Road. However, each heritage railway has its own bespoke approach to this issue. Aspects such as the volunteer culture, the prevailing language, the diversity of skills, qualifications and learning abilities, are all factors to be addressed in managing competence effectively. Here, qualitative research methods have been used in the form of eighteen in-depth interviews conducted with workers at four UK heritage railways. Analysis of this data revealed issues such as the need to transfer knowledge from an aging volunteer workforce to new recruits and the importance of ensuring that competences are portable to maintain the viability of the industry, whilst recognising the special needs of volunteers in this unique working environment. Future work will determine the gap between how volunteers ‘see’ competence and how it is managed today, with the aim of developing a new approach to competence management for the UK heritage railway industry.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019
EventRailway Engineering 2019 - Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20194 Jul 2019


ConferenceRailway Engineering 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
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