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High Speed Rail college calls on businesses to commit apprentices

Businesses have been called on to “act soon,” to fill the remaining spaces left on the National College for High Speed Rail’s (NCHSR) apprenticeship schemes.

In anticipation of the college opening in four months’ time, it has now called on companies to send their apprentices to the college to develop essential skills to build the workforce for future high-speed rail projects in the UK.

With campuses in Doncaster and Birmingham, the college will offer courses in management, civil engineering, track systems and systems engineering, and aims to strengthen the employees who are set to work on HS2, which starts construction in a few months’ time.

“As a groundbreaking institution, we want businesses to send us their brightest and best to help us create a workforce ready for the 21st century,” said Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the NCHSR.

“Our first intake of apprentices are going to be the pioneers of high-speed rail in the UK. These apprentices will be ambassadors for Europe’s largest infrastructure project and testament to the bright future for the rail industry in Britain.

“Our apprenticeship programme will provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate the skills of these talented engineers and designers and the businesses they work for, providing us with a shop window to showcase British expertise in rail to the rest of the world.”

Mowbray also reassured rail industry leaders that, despite some saying the colleges were oversubscribed, there were still many places available.

“We’re also keen to hear from businesses with apprenticeship vacancies so we can support them to advertise their vacancies, and potentially match them with the talent pool who have applied direct to the college,” she added. “It’s fantastic that we’re able to bring new talent into the industry, just when it needs it most.”

One of the organisations which has already sent its apprentices to the college includes the Fusion joint venture, a partnership between Morgan Sindall, BAM and Ferrovial – which has been successful collaborating on a number of large projects like Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

“Our industry needs more forward thinking organisations like Fusion to commit their apprentices to the NCHSR as the British rail industry is rapidly approaching its biggest investment in infrastructure for more than a Century,” Mowbray concluded.

“It is clear that investing in the future workforce allows businesses to develop a competitive advantage, and this should form an essential part of every organisation’s plans to be HS2 ready.”

Nissar Mohammed, project director at Fusion, said: “To be one of the first organisations to sign up our apprentices is yet another milestone in Fusion’s high-speed rail journey.”

Mohammed described the college’s ambition to provide highly skilled people and close the skills gap through our supply chain as a “lifeline for the industry,” if the UK are serious about competing with other High Speed networks around the world.

“It is up to infrastructure businesses like ourselves and the supply chain to work with the college to develop the next generation of rail engineers, the first alumni, trained by the industry for the industry through the college,” stated Mohammed.

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