National College on track to train Britain’s next generation of engineers

On the day that HS2 has announced the successful main civils works contractors (17 July), the National College for High Speed Rail has announced it remains on track to open its doors this September. 

The HS2 main civils works announcement today is expected to generate around 1,000 contract opportunities in the supply chain – of which two thirds will go to SMEs. In total, this means 7,000 contract opportunities. 

Clair Mowbray, Chief Executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said:

“We’re delighted that suppliers for the next phase of the HS2 have been confirmed.  We look forward to working with the successful contractors, Align, CEK, BBV and SCS to help solve the skills gap in the rail industry.  While we are in discussions with these suppliers, we are excited about expanding and cementing these relationships, and also working with them to develop relationships with their supply chains as they progress. We particularly look forward to progressing talks on how the National College can work with these joint ventures, and their supply chain to train the workforce they will need to deliver this hugely exciting project.”

The National College for High Speed Rail is the largest of five new national colleges that has been created by the Government to upskill Britain’s workforce in preparation for a whole new generation of engineers. 

Currently it is estimated that businesses in Britain will need 182,000 new engineers every year over the next five years; it is falling short by around 69,000 engineers each year.  The rail industry faces even further skills shortages, with one in five rail engineers currently aged over-55.

With Britain’s move into high speed rail and HS2 alone set to create 25,000 new jobs (many of which will be generated by those contracts announced today) The National College for High Speed Rail is preparing to become one of the core gateways for those looking to work on Europe’s largest and most exciting infrastructure project.

Construction company Willmott Dixon will officially hand over the keys for the college’s two campuses based in Doncaster and Birmingham in mid-August.  Each building is currently in its final stages of completion and will be ready to be fully fitted out for the arrival of a Eurostar powercar at each site, later this summer.

Alstom and Eurostar announced the donation of the two powercars to the college last month.  They were previously part of the country’s first fleet of high speed trains and have carried over 160 million passengers between the UK and mainland Europe.

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