ICE President Geoff French has welcomed plans for a new college to train the next generation of world class engineers to work on the construction of High Speed 2 (HS2).
Plans for the new college were announced last week by skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock. The facility will train students in the use of cutting edge technology and state of the art equipment to deliver programmes designed specifically for the HS2 project.
It will also build relationships with a network of affiliated facilities - including existing colleges, private training providers, higher education institutions and major supply networks.
Students from across the country will have opportunities to become involved and work along the line.
Launching the college at the Old Oak Common railway depot, Hancock said it was vital the nation “acts now to ensure we have enough skilled people to build HS2 and make sure as many jobs as possible are local”.
Responding to future neeed
He also stressed that the college’s training would enable engineers to “respond not only to the needs of HS2, but also to the future of rail engineering”.
French said the announcement was “exactly the sort of forward thinking on our skills and capabilities that the ICE wants to see from government, sitting alongside its work on the future infrastructure project pipeline”.
“If we want world class infrastructure, we must take steps to ensure we have the workforce to deliver it,” he added.
French said some details on the initiative are yet to emerge, such as if and how it will work with other similar schemes already established and proving successful - such as the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering and the Tunnelling Academy established by Crossrail.
“Efforts should be joined up so the benefits are maximised,” he said.
The new college will cost around £20M and will open by 2017, when construction on the route is expected to begin.