New high speed rail college to be in Birmingham and Doncaster

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The home of the new National College for High Speed Rail will be located in Birmingham and Doncaster.

The home of the new National College for High Speed Rail will be located in Birmingham and Doncaster, the government announced today (30 September 2014). The headquarters will be based in Birmingham and the college will also have a site in Doncaster. It will provide specialist vocational training to the next generation of engineers working on the High Speed 2 (HS2) project and beyond.

As many as 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities will be created by HS2, and there will be around 25,000 people employed during construction. HS2 will support growth in the wider economy and it is predicted that this could lead to an additional 400,000 jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

As a crucial part of our long term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people.

The benefits of high-speed rail will not just be seen by those commuting between London and the North, but through the thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships created because of HS2.

The opening of this National College will also ensure that we have a pool of locally-trained workers with the right skills to draw upon for future projects.

The college will be located in Birmingham’s city centre Science Park and Doncaster’s Lakeside Campus. The governing board will be chaired by Terry Morgan, who is also the chair of Crossrail, and will include representatives from Birmingham and Doncaster, alongside HS2 Ltd and leading industry employers.

Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said:

The opening of this college demonstrates that the UK is advancing as a global leader in rail manufacturing – in line with the government’s Industrial Strategy. This is the next step in building the highly skilled specialist workforce needed to develop the biggest infrastructure project this country has ever seen, and to enable our rail industry to compete in future global markets.

This process has demonstrated a real commitment from all parts of the country to the development of a cutting edge training facility and a rail workforce which is the best in the world.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

Creating jobs by delivering better infrastructure is a key part of the government’s long term economic plan. And they do not come any bigger than HS2, which will be the largest infrastructure project in Europe, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

HS2 is vital to rebalance the economy and help secure the country’s future prosperity, and construction will start in just 3 years. We have brilliant engineers in this country, but there are not enough of them. With the creation of a National College we can make sure we give young people the skills they need to build HS2 and other projects right across the country.

The college will benefit from Birmingham’s location at the heart of the high speed rail network. HS2 Ltd also recently announced its construction headquarters will be based in the city and the new HS2 network control centre is planned to be Washwood Heath in Birmingham. Doncaster was also chosen as it has excellent links to established rail industry businesses.

The sites were selected following a consultation process which attracted a number of very strong proposals from across the country. All bids were assessed against a range of criteria including the size and availability of a suitable site, accessibility, and the potential to develop strong links with employers and providers already operating in the sector.

The new college will be led by employers from the sector and will set industry standards for training based on emerging technology and the use of cutting-edge facilities, with trainers who are expert in their field. The specialist training at the college will be level 4 and over.

Work will now begin on building the college sites and developing the courses which will help to train the next generation of engineers and address concerns of potential future skills shortages. In due course, the college will also develop strong links to other institutions around the country.

Before it opens in 2017, it will have identified a network of other providers who will also be part of the National College in a ‘hub and spoke’ model – which will be crucial in delivering the leading edge provision that is needed for this important sector.

The High Speed Rail College is the first specialist National College to be developed and is in line with the government’s Industrial Strategy. This will help the UK economy and businesses to compete and grow as well as secure jobs and increase skills for future generations.

The government has also committed to working hand in hand with local areas to help them realise their visions for how HS2 will boost wider economic growth across their regions, creating more jobs and attracting inward investment. As part of this, the government has provided new funding to help local areas develop their HS2 Growth Strategies and is working closely with them to take this work forward.

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