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29.01.16

Birmingham’s High Speed Rail College set for green light

The National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham is on track to receive the green light from the region’s city council next week.

City planners in Birmingham City Council’s planning committee said they “fully endorse” the 9,700sqm site, which, along with another campus in Doncaster, is expected to boost skills provision in the rail industry.

In the committee’s board papers ahead of a meeting next Thursday, councillors said: “Birmingham has been chosen by the government as one of the two locations for a national vocational training college for HS2, a decision that is fully endorsed by the city. It is a previously developed site within an area identified for regeneration within the Curzon Masterplan, a plan that promotes economic growth that supports HS2.

“Its location within the Aston Science Park and close to existing educational establishments would maintain a research and learning presence in this part of the city. The investment in this site and the opportunities to enhance the skills required for HS2 are to be welcomed.”

If it gets the go-ahead, the high speed college, to be situated at Aston Science Park, is expected to start training students by 2017.  It will have also identified a network of other providers who will be part of the national college in a ‘hub and spoke’ model.

The 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 around 25,000 people employed during construction.

Designed by architects from Bond Bryan, the colleges will be steered by a governing body chaired by Crossrail boss Terry Morgan and led by FirstGroup HR director John Evans.

When both colleges were announced by the prime minister while on a visit to the city’s redeveloped New Street station, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “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.”

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