On December 14, 2022, the rail ambassadors of the European Year of Youth Marleen van de Kerkhof (on behalf of Railforum and Young Changers) and Oscar Vermeij (on behalf of Rail Cargo information Netherlands) presented their final report entitled ‘The future is ours!’ presented to State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen of Infrastructure and Water Management.
In the report, Van de Kerkhof and Vermeij share their findings on the image, diversity, ageing, sustainability and innovations in the rail sector and make recommendations for inspiring and attracting new talent.
In the report, the ambassadors state, among other things, that the rail sector has an unjustified outdated image among young people. The sustainable and innovative character of the railway should therefore be brought to the attention of young people in general and (young) women in particular. In the extremely diverse rail sector, they believe that thanks to digitalisation, challenging and meaningful jobs can be found for everyone. However, due to the structural shortage of personnel, the potential of the European rail system to make transport more sustainable cannot be fully exploited. Van de Kerkhof and Vermeij call on the sector to actively involve the young generation in the collaborations and innovations that increase the available rail capacity.
“t was great to get so many enthusiastic reactions from young people when I told them about sustainable innovations in rail. The train is the means of transport of the future and the youth is the future of the railway. So let's continue to inspire young people with all the wonderful, digital innovations with which we improve international rail transport, because unknown makes unloved.”
“It is extremely important for the rail sector to present itself well to the new generation. The industry has a lot to offer: an international field of activity, a lot of cooperation and innovation. Show what you've got!”
“It is more important than ever to make young people enthusiastic about a job in the rail sector. The future of the railway starts with young people.”
The report marks the end of a successful year in which the rail ambassadors encouraged young people to choose a job in the rail sector and took steps to improve the image of the sector.
As speakers, Van de Kerkhof and Vermeij delivered their message at numerous national and international events, including RailTech Europe, RailFreight Summit, Railfestival and UIC World Congress on Rail Training. To reach the young target group, they spoke to young people at ROC Twente and the STC, at RailTech Europe and InnoTrans. Van de Kerkhof, together with the Young Changers, also organized visits to politicians and policymakers in Brussels and The Hague for young people and young professionals.
The European Commission declared the year 2022 as the European Year of Youth to highlight the importance of youth in building a better future that is sustainable, inclusive and digital. The rail industry plays a crucial role in this, because it offers the solution to make transport more sustainable. This makes rail an attractive sector for young people, who increasingly value sustainability.
Read the Final Report – ‘The Future is Ours!’ – European Year of Youth here.
This article was originally published by Dual Inventive.
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