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30.09.14

Birmingham and Doncaster chosen for National High Speed Rail College

The new National High Speed Rail College is to be co-located in Birmingham and Doncaster, the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation has revealed. 

The college’s headquarters will be located in Birmingham’s city centre Science Park, with another site at 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. 

Birmingham and Doncaster were selected following a consultation process which attracted a number of very strong proposals from across the country. The two other shortlisted bids included Derby and Manchester. 

Prime minister David Cameron made the announcement while on a visit to the redevelopment site of Birmingham New Street station. He said:  “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.” 

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 response to the decision, Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We will now rapidly move ahead with the development of the Birmingham site at Aston Science Park with a view to having it ready for students to be trained by 2017. 

“The college will add to the presence of HS2 in the city, which is at the heart of the high-speed rail network, with the recent announcement that the project’s headquarters will also be in Birmingham.” 

Before it opens in 2017, the college 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 the rail sector. 

Business secretary 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.” 

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. It is expected that as many as 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities will be created by HS2, and there will be around 25,000 people employed during construction. 

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Creating jobs by delivering better infrastructure is a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan. 

“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.” 

In Doncaster, the college will be built on a 'ready to go' 5.1 acre site at Doncaster's Lakeside. It will be within walking distance of household names in the rail industry like DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Hitachi and offers easy access for employers and students from across the UK.

It is expected the college will train thousands of new engineers, who are needed to deliver billions of pounds worth of rail contracts over the coming decades, including the new HS2 high speed rail line. The successful Centre for Rail Engineering and Technical Expertise (CREATE) bid, coordinated by Doncaster Council, involved a range of private sector businesses and was supported by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. 

Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster, said: “I am delighted that our hard work to bring the new National High Speed Rail College to Doncaster has been a success and I would like to thank everyone who has been part of our bid, or supported it. 

“Doncaster has always led the way in terms of cutting edge rail engineering and this decision confirms our position as the home of rail. It's a great day for Doncaster.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

Comments

Gb   24/10/2014 at 17:37

If and when this college goes ahead, could the govt. confirm that Britain will cease to buy foreign locomotives and trains and rejuvenate our sadly neglected indigenous rail industries? Now that would be good news!

Gb   24/10/2014 at 17:37

If and when this college goes ahead, could the govt. confirm that Britain will cease to buy foreign locomotives and trains and rejuvenate our sadly neglected indigenous rail industries? Now that would be good news!

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