The  Skill Training Alliance for the Future European Rail system (Staffer), a group of 32 organisations including businesses, education and training institutions and professional associations, held its inaugural meeting on November 30. The group will develop a long-term strategy to identify current and future skills shortages in the rail industry, and related training and educational curricula to address these needs. The programme will run until the end of October 2024. 

Staffer also aims to improve career opportunities in the sector through pan-European mobility programmes and work-based internships.  

The implementation of Staffer’s goals will be monitored by its contracting authority, the Educational, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).  

Staffer is one of 21 Sector Skills Alliances set up since 2017 through the EU’s Erasmus+ programme with the objective of improving the quality and relevance of Europe’s vocational education and training systems.  

It is hoped the project will also support the goals of the EU’s Green Deal and the transition toward new green and digital technologies in the rail industry. 

“Staffer will be instrumental as it will set the framework for strategic cooperation among key stakeholders of the rail sector - particularly in the context of the upcoming European Year of Rail 2021,” says Ms Angela Di Febbraro, Staffer’s general coordinator and professor of transport engineering at the University of Genoa.  

“Under the umbrella of our rail Skills Alliance, together our partners will develop and implement strategies to address skills gaps and shortages by developing occupational profiles, vocational programmes and qualifications, as well as designing a long-term action plan to be rolled out at European, national, and regional levels.” 


Staffer is led by the University of Genoa, alongside: 

  • Alstom 
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki 
  • Bombardier Transportation 
  • CAF 
  • Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) 
  • Higher Education and Vocational Training Campus (CESI) 
  • Luxembourg National Railways (CFL) 
  • French National Conservatory of Arts and Trades (CNAM), 
  • Czech Technical University 
  • German Rail (DB) 
  • Sapienza University 
  • Estaca 
  • Railway Industries Federation (FIF) 
  • For.Fer 
  • Italian State Railways (FS) 
  • Hitachi Rail STS 
  • HTL Mödling 
  • HTL Rennweg 
  • Serbian Railways Infrastructure 
  • Knorr-Bremse 
  • Spanish Railway Association (Mafex) 
  • ÖBB-Infrastructure 
  • Prorail 
  • the Warsaw School of Economics 
  • Siemens Mobility 
  • French National Railways (SNCF) 
  • Technical University of Dresden 
  • Erfurt University of Applied Sciences 
  • Belgrade Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering (FTTE),  
  • WMP Consult, and 
  • European Rail Industry Association (Unife).