West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has welcomed the news that 3,000 jobs are set to be created in the area by HS2.
HS2 construction partner Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) opened its Skills Academy in November 2021 as part of its drive to train people to work on HS2 projects.
Projects like this are key to avoiding a potential skills shortage in the rail industry over the next 5-10 years.
A study conducted by City & Guilds and The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) showed that around 120,000 people need to be added to the workforce to avoid a skills shortage.
Since opening, the Skills Academy has helped people in the West Midlands who were out of work into jobs to support HS2’s construction.
Mr Street commented on the work of the Skills Academy and how that work is key to helping deliver the UK’s high-speed rail project.
Mr Street said: “One of the main reasons I fought so hard to secure HS2 for the West Midlands was the local jobs it would create.
“It is brilliant to see that coming to fruition now.
“This exciting collaboration between BBV and South and City College Birmingham… is helping to give thousands of local people the opportunity to find high-quality… jobs as part of this once-in-a-generation infrastructure project.
“This Skills Academy is exactly the kind of initiative that helps those who have fallen out of work find employment as part of my 100k jobs plan.”
Rail industry leaders from across the Midlands recently met at the TransCityRail Midlands conference to discuss the future of rail in the region.
One of the key topics up for discussion was the ways in which the rail industry can invest in the future of its workforce.
This follows the recent announcement that communities in Warwickshire are set to benefit from £1.4m of HS2 funding.
HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson spoke on the important role the Skills Academy in levelling up the UK’s towns and cities.
Mr Stephenson said: “HS2 is about boosting transport, driving business and creating thousands of long lasting jobs that will level up the nation.
“BBV’s Skills Academy embodies all of this.
“Not only supporting local jobs but giving workers the opportunity to upskill for free.
“[The Academy lets workers] gain valuable experience working on Europe’s biggest infrastructure project.”
Students at the Academy can gain experience in plant machinery operation and traffic and fire marshalling.
The opportunity is also there for students to work towards a nationally recognised accreditation from the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.
Featured image - HS2