Latest Rail News

09.05.16

Construction starts on high-speed rail colleges

Construction officially began on the two sites of the National College for High Speed Rail today.

Breaking ground ceremonies were held at the new college sites, in Doncaster and Birmingham, which are due to open in September 2017.

The sites were announced in 2014 after multiple delays, and John Evans, former human resources director at FirstGroup, was named as CEO last November.

He gave the keynote speech at March’s iRail event in Derby, where he warned that urgent action is needed to tackle the shortage of rail engineers.

During today’s ceremony, Robert Goodwill MP, minister for transport, 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.”

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Beth West, HS2 Ltd commercial director and member of the College Board, who wrote in the most recent edition of RTM about the sector’s innovation and skills challenge, said: “The National College for High Speed Rail will help re-define what it means to be employed by the rail industry by attracting new people and providing the opportunity to create the diverse workforce that the industry aspires to.

“It is vital that we act now to ensure we have enough skilled people to build HS2 and the College will provide specialist vocational training for the next generation of engineers and apprentices.”

Terry Morgan, chair of the corporate board for the National College for High Speed Rail, who produced the transport infrastructure skills strategy earlier this year, added that 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 Doncaster and Birmingham”.

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, and Birmingham City Council’s leader, John Clancy, both said how fantastic it was to see construction starting on the college sites, which will provide significant opportunities for future generations of young people.

(Top image left to right: Chair of the Corporate Board for the National College for High Speed Rail Terry Morgan, Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones, Minister of State for Transport Robert Goodwill, Rosie Winterton MP, Caroline Flint MP)

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