knowledge transfer partnership with the university of nottingham
Our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Nottingham has the aim of testing the efficacy of incorporating Non-Technical Skills (NTS) into the Competence Management Framework of safety critical roles in the rail industry – both in the UK and internationally.

The KTP seeks to answer the following questions:

Does the incorporation of NTS into CMS systems reduce incidents and accidents and raise performance?
How can effective NTS be delivered with minimum disruption to operations?
How can NTS competency be assessed?

Our Industry Advisory Group consists of Train and Freight Operating Companies, Network Rail, RSSB and ORR with whom we will work collaboratively to deliver an NTS safety model that will be piloted in 2015 with a selected Train Operating Company before launching in early 2016.
Dr. Ruth Madigan is our KTP Associate. She has the perfect background for the role: After gaining a 1st Class Honours degree in Applied Psychology, she lectured at the University College Cork in Human Factors and Applied Cognitive Psychology, covering topics including human error, situation awareness, perception, attention, judgement, and decision making.

Ruth also gained a PhD in ‘Learning to drive: from hazard detection to hazard handling’. She has also qualified with the British Psychological Society in Psychology.
Over recent months the KTP has progressed apace. Fresh safety related data has been collected from across a range of train operating companies representing different routes and traction types. The data has included Safety of the Line spreadsheets, Incident Investigation reports, and interviews with industry representatives across a broad range of safety critical roles.

Analysis of the data has provided a clear and up to date picture on how particular NTS, Human Factors issues, underlying personal factors (e.g. experience, fatigue, lifestyle), and supervisory and organisational factors contribute to incidents across the rail industry.

The resulting KTP Interim Report was recently distributed to selected members of the rail industry.

This analysis has informed the KTP’s current work on developing a Prioritisation Framework which will provide a robust foundation for the ultimate output of the KTP: a comprehensive Performance and Competency Management System that can be applied not just to the rail industry but to other safety-critical industries such as oil and gas and aviation.

This Performance and Competency Management System will provide:
On-going online Technical Competence Management
On-going online NTS & Human Factors Competency Measurement
Immediate feedback to individuals on the results of any measurements, along with recommendations as to which training modules to undertake
Automated reports for managers and trainers on employee performance
A framework within which the employee and their line manager can agree an Employee Progression Plan that addresses their individual and specific needs

This Employee Progression Plan will provide the opportunity for multiple levels of support including: online NTS training modules (provided and supported by Arcadia Alive); classroom NTS training; managerial coaching and mentoring relating to NTS skills development; online Health and Wellbeing modules; facilitated online discussions; Tea Break Techniques for immediate support on ‘a bad day’.

This system is currently being piloted with a UK train operating company and an initial version will be rolled out in the coming months.

If you would like a copy of the KTP Interim Report, or if you would like your organisation to become involved in the KTP, then please contact Dr Ruth Madigan on 0845 2600 126 or