Despite current high levels of global unemployment, according to a PwC survey, 66% of CEOs say that a lack of individuals in the industry with the suitable skill level is their largest human resources challenge. In response, the UIC is leading an initiative that it says will establish a "global network of railway talents" which aims to utilise existing talent and expertise within the industry to attract and retain the next generation of employees.

The scheme was launched in December 2012 and the UIC will present its progress at its next general assembly, scheduled for next month. At the core of this scheme is the development of a powerful international network of railway experts who possess a deep understanding of business approaches, are multi-lingual, and are well-known internationally. The UIC hopes that the network will also improve international cooperation.

Since the project started, the UIC says it has already established links with global universities offering railway education courses, and included a "young researchers" category at the UIC Research and Innovation Awards. It is also supporting the European Commission Transport Research Arena initiative, TRA Visions, aimed at university students.

In 2014 the UIC says it hopes to establish a dedicated event for participants in the initiative which it says will foster a collaborative approach and connect members beyond the virtual web platform on which the programme will be based. It also wants to implement the first edition of a revised Siafi and develop accredited Master and Bachelor of Business Administration (MBA and BBA) programmes in railway and international logistics. The project team will also start to identify alternative and complementary funding models beyond UIC Global Projects, the current source.

Future network participants are being invited to complete a survey on the UIC homepage at where they can express their needs and expectations of the future collaborative platform. Over 150 people have so far completed the survey.