The £43bn High Speed 2 project will generate 25,000 construction jobs, the government has boasted.
Transport minister Robert Goodwill made the claim at a conference on HS2 in London yesterday.
He said 60% of the construction opportunities from the proposed rapid rail link between London and the North were expected to be awarded to small and medium sized businesses.
Goodwill said: “We need everything from architects to aggregates, steel and surveyors, to engineers and environmental consultants.
“We estimate that HS2 will create 25,000 jobs during construction and 3,000 jobs when in operation. Not just on site, but right across the UK.”
He added: “The jobs that HS2 will create are an incredible opportunity for the UK, but also a major challenge. Because while we need 25,000 skilled professionals for HS2, our investment in the existing rail and road networks is creating another 20,000 jobs.
“And that’s at the same time as we need skilled people for all our other great infrastructure projects such as flood defences, nuclear power stations and perhaps even Crossrail 2.
“We need many more engineers, surveyors, construction workers, planners, drainage experts and even arboriculturists. So we are getting ready now. We will write into the statute book our commitment to create 3M apprenticeships by 2020, many of which will serve infrastructure.”