The National College for High Speed Rail took a significant step forward this week as construction officially began on its two sites in Birmingham and Doncaster.
The college will provide the specialist training, skills and qualifications required to build HS2 and future rail projects.
The breaking-ground ceremony launched the official start of construction on the two sites, in Birmingham’s Learning Quarter and at Doncaster’s Lakeside. The college is on track to open its doors to students in September 2017.
Minister of State for Transport Robert Goodwill said:
“This landmark moment means we are one step closer to seeing students walk through the doors of the College in 2017, learning the cutting-edge skills we need to deliver HS2 and world-beating rail infrastructure.
“This shows the transformational effect that HS2 is already having on our country – boosting skills, generating jobs and supporting economic growth – before spades are in the ground next year.”
Terry Morgan, Chair of the Corporate Board for the National College for High Speed Rail, said:
“The National College for High Speed Rail is progressing at an excellent pace and I am delighted that construction is underway on both sites in Birmingham and Doncaster.
“The College will have a major and hugely positive impact on the ability of the rail industry to develop a multi-skilled specialist British workforce, capable of building HS2 and future infrastructure projects.
“It will be a catalyst for growth in both Doncaster and Birmingham that will bring new investment into the area and provide highly skilled jobs for local people.”
Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council said:
“This new college is a fantastic opportunity to build skills in this city and it’s really important that people across the whole of Birmingham benefit.
“We have thousands of talented young engineers and scientists and this will be their chance to access world-leading, cutting-edge rail technology.
“Birmingham will become the city of a thousand and one trades when we begin training an elite generation of high speed rail engineers.”
The College will equip thousands of students with the highly technical engineering skills required to build, operate and maintain a railway, including a strong emphasis on practical and virtual learning.
HS2 will improve capacity across Britain’s rail network, shorten journey times between major cities and boost the economy. It will support up to 100,000 jobs nationwide, create around 25,000 jobs during construction of Phases One and Two and create 2,000 apprenticeships.