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Rail Academy for North

Transport | Options Analysis and Business Case Development

Growth Needs Assessment

As part of the rail industry reform agenda and the commitments in the Williams-Shapps White Paper, Northern Trains were in involved in discussions about specific initiatives that could be developed by train operators that could benefit the wider industry including developing a Rail Academy for the North, (RAfN).

The vision for the Academy is to become the rail supplier of choice to attract, recruit and develop a pipeline of diverse new rail talent with the skills, knowledge and behaviours that will deliver exceptional service and enable social mobility within Northern communities.

Journey4 were asked to support the Discovery Phase assessing the feasibility for an academy, with a particular focus on programme management and benefits case development. 

“I was delighted with how well Journey4 quickly integrated themselves in the business and with the level of engagement the Programme Team achieved across our organisation in such a short amount of time.  The quality of the outputs during the Discovery and Options Analysis phase was excellent and I was impressed with Journey4’s level of professionalism, processes and for meeting all our deadlines. The project has been an exemplar and a template for future consultancy projects.” 

Head of Learning and Talent, Northern Trains

Our Approach

Our first task was to agree the scope of the Academy and identify the different workstreams that would identify the services delivered by the Academy and the ‘enablers required to help implement the project. We identified subject matter experts across the business and established a steering group to facilitate engagement and communication. We also developed a wider stakeholder engagement plan with other train operators and partnering organisations in the north of England.

We developed a programme in accordance with the Northern Trains programme management process, including RACI, Risk Register, Project Inception Development, Programme Governance and Reporting. 

Following completion of the Discovery Phase, Journey4 supported the development more detailed Options Analysis, looking at three scenarios. In parallel Journey4 assisted with the development of a financial business model to assess each of the three options, before making recommendations of the Preferred Option. 

Impact of our work

Discovery was completed in two months, identifying the opportunities. Options Analysis and initial financial model was completed in 3 months along with our commendation. A summary ‘Rail Academy Blueprint’ document was produced capturing the main findings of the Discovery and Options Analysis for stakeholder partners and wider communities in the north of England.