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17.11.15

High-speed rail college hires FirstGroup HR boss as chief executive

The new National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) in Doncaster and Birmingham, intended to develop the workforce needed to build HS2, has appointed its chief executive today (17 November).

John Evans will join the college board from FirstGroup, where he works as HR director overseeing strategy and delivery.

He also comes with over 25 years of experience in marketing and HR in other organisations, which he hopes will provide him with the tools needed to develop young engineering talent.

Evans will now take over development responsibilities over shaping the curriculum, college design and liaising with stakeholders and employers to deliver the next generation of engineers.

Commenting on the appointment, Terry Morgan, chair of the college board, said: “His commitment and passion for people development will be vital as move closer to opening the college in two years’ time.

“The NCHSR has a unique opportunity to ensure that the skills needed to support the delivery of HS2 are in place and able to respond to other infrastructure projects in the future.”

Evans added that he was delighted to join the college at a “pivotal point” in its development, stepping up just one month after the Doncaster site’s planning application was submitted ahead of expected approvals by December.

Sir Albert Bore, Birmingham City Council leader, added: “We’re looking forward to working with John to ensure the NCHSR generates home-grow rail engineers and created a skills legacy for generations to come.

“In the meantime, the designs for the Birmingham campus have been really well-received and we are on track to begin construction in April 2016 before welcoming the first students to Birmingham in September 2017.

Since the September 2014 confirmation that the college would be jointly based at the two locations, both cities have been working with HS2 Ltd to define and refine all stages of the project’s development.

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