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Bombardier and Hitachi commit to high-speed rail learning programme if HS2 bid is successful

Hitachi and Bombardier are to work closely together in developing a high-speed rail learning programme as part of their joint bid to build trains for HS2.

The companies, meeting in Doncaster, say they’re discussing the development of a new Global High-Speed Rail Learning Programme, which will attract new British talent into the industry and develop the next generation of engineers.

Hitachi and Bombardier formed a joint venture to bid for a £2.75bn contract to build and maintain the trains that will operate on Phase One of HS2, which will run from London to Birmingham.

If their bid is successful, the two companies have committed to working more closely with the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) at its campuses in Doncaster and Birmingham, with the learning programme the next big step.

The joint-venture companies say they will expand their graduate and apprentice schemes “with a particular focus on diversity and inclusion,” aiming to attract the best talent to work within HS2 project delivery teams.

Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail, said that the “exciting global scheme offers young people a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.”

She commented: “We aim to build an iconic British train for HS2 that will offer an unrivalled passenger experience, but this investment also has to deliver a skills and supplier legacy for the UK.

“We want to bring in and nurture new talent that will support the high-speed rail industry both here at home and for export abroad.”

The rail giants say both companies’ experts are already working together to create a “new, lighter, quieter, and more energy efficient train,” which would be capable of running at speeds of 360km/h.

The new learning programme is designed to provide a pathway from apprentice to further study at degree level which will include high-speed placements at the companies’ locations in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Japan and the UK.

With Phase One of HS2 scheduled for train delivery in 2026, maintenance of the trains will be required over a minimum 12-year period, offering “exciting, long-term career prospects” in the high-speed rail sector.

Chief executive of the NCHSR, Clair Mowbray, said: “We are thrilled to be engaged with Bombardier and Hitachi at this stage in their bidding and we are working with the companies to develop and implement a robust and inspiring apprenticeship programme that will ensure a highly skilled workforce to deliver the build and maintenance contracts for HS2.”


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