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High speed rail college HQ goes to Birmingham

The headquarters of the new National College for High Speed Rail will be located in Birmingham, the Government announced today.

It will provide specialist vocational training to engineers working on the High Speed 2 (HS2) project.

The college will also have a site in Doncaster.

The Government claims up to 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities will be created by HS2, with around 25,000 people employed during construction.

The second city will also host the HS2 construction headquarters, and the network control centre will be built in Birmingham’s Washwood Heath area.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “As a crucial part of our long term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people.

“The benefits of high-speed rail will not just be seen by those commuting between London and the North, but through the thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships created because of HS2.

“The opening of this National College will also ensure that we have a pool of locally-trained workers with the right skills to draw upon for future projects.”

The college locations will be in Birmingham’s city centre Science Park and Doncaster’s Lakeside Campus.

The governing board will be chaired by Terry Morgan, who is also the chair of Crossrail, and will include representatives from Birmingham and Doncaster, alongside HS2 Ltd and leading industry employers.

Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said: “The opening of this college demonstrates that the UK is advancing as a global leader in rail manufacturing - in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy. This is the next step in building the highly skilled specialist workforce needed to develop the biggest infrastructure project this country has ever seen, and to enable our rail industry to compete in future global markets.  

“This process has demonstrated a real commitment from all parts of the country to the development of a cutting edge training facility and a rail workforce which is the best in the world.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

“Creating jobs by delivering better infrastructure is a key part of the Government’s long term economic plan. And they do not come any bigger than HS2, which will be the largest infrastructure project in Europe, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

“HS2 is vital to rebalance the economy and help secure the country’s future prosperity, and construction will start in just three years. We have brilliant engineers in this country, but there are not enough of them. With the creation of a National College we can make sure we give young people the skills they need to build HS2 and other projects right across the country.”

A statement from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), said: “Work will now begin on building the college sites and developing the courses which will help to train the next generation of engineers and address concerns of potential future skills shortages. In due course, the college will also develop strong links to other institutions around the country.

“Before it opens in 2017, it will have identified a network of other providers who will also be part of the National College in a ‘hub and spoke’ model – which will be crucial in delivering the leading edge provision that is needed for this important sector.

“The High Speed Rail College is the first specialist National College to be developed and is in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy. This will help the UK economy and businesses to compete and grow as well as secure jobs and increase skills for future generations.”

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