Northern training academy

Northern’s training academies ‘key to addressing national skills shortage’ as rail industry builds future workforce, says OFSTED

Northern’s training academies in Leeds and Manchester are key to addressing the national skills shortage facing the rail industry according to a new report by OFSTED.

The regulator made the statement following an inspection of both facilities in which the quality of the education provided and the behaviour, attitudes and apprenticeship offering were found to be ‘Outstanding’.

Personal development, leadership and management were, meanwhile, declared ‘Good’, which was also the grade awarded for ‘overall effectiveness’.

OFSTED’s report goes on to say that apprentices at Northern benefit from a wide range of career and development opportunities for those who aspire to become managers and leaders within the company.

Lisa Leighton, people director at Northern, said: “We’re delighted with the outcome of the recent OFSTED inspection and I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues in Leeds and Manchester and those based at our depots and TrainCare Centres who support with on-the-job operational training, helping hundreds of apprentices graduate every year.

“Each and every one of those graduates has the potential to be an industry leader of the future – bringing their skills, talent and ideas to the table.

“The rail industry is an exciting sector to be a part of and there’s no better grounding for a successful career than an apprenticeship, which combines classroom learning with on-the-job experience.”

Northern was officially recognised by OFSTED as a ‘Main Provider’ on the national register of apprenticeships in July 2022. That status enables Northern to train other train operators’ newcomers in the fields of train driving and passenger transport.

In addition to classroom learning, Northern is increasingly using virtual reality technology to provide ‘real world’ scenarios from the safety of the classroom.

In 2023, Northern became a patron of the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance (Powered by Pathway Group) – an organisation that strives to promote social mobility, diversity, inclusion and equity in apprenticeships.

For more information about apprenticeships available with Northern, please visit:

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

Contact Information

Northern Trains Press Office

Notes to editors

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, further education and skills, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments.