Transport Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, visited Birmingham’s National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) to oversee completion of the site’s flat roof structure – a major construction milestone in the college’s ambitious development plans.
The flagship College, based in Birmingham’s Science Park, is another great coup for the city which is already powering ahead in its preparations for the arrival of HS2. Last month Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Birmingham City Council (BCC) announced almost £1billion of investment to redevelop the area around Curzon Street station, which HS2 trains will serve, providing thousands more jobs, homes and commercial opportunities.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “HS2 will be the backbone of our national rail network and help us build an economy that works for all. But the significant benefits of the scheme will not just be felt from when the trains start running in 2026. Work on the new College sites shows the transformational effect that HS2 is already having on our country now, creating jobs and supporting economic growth.
“Around 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships will be generated during construction of HS2, which is due to begin next year. The UK is highly regarded for its engineering capabilities but we need to do more to attract new talent to the sector as well as improving the skills of the current workforce. The National College for High Speed Rail will provide the cutting-edge skills we need to deliver HS2 and other world-beating infrastructure.”
Under the leadership of new CEO, Clair Mowbray, the NCHSR is now putting the finishing touches to its curriculum and preparing to welcome its first intake of students in September 2017.
Before opening its doors, the college is generating opportunities for young people and local businesses Three full time apprentices are helping build the site and Wilmott Dixon has 12 local businesses on its supply chain. The construction of HS2 will mirror this approach, with a firm commitment to generate at least 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities and ensure businesses across the UK benefit from procurement contracts.
Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “HS2 is already a game-changer that is driving economic growth in the region, and the development of a new National College for High Speed Rail in the heart of the city is another example of the long-term benefits we are realising.
“We recognise the galvanising effect that HS2 is having on the regeneration of Birmingham and believe confirmation of the Phase 2b route from Government later this autumn will provide further assurance and confidence to businesses and investors across the region.”
The new college, which is just minutes away from the Grade I listed Curzon Street station, will play a vital role in addressing skills shortages in the engineering sector, whilst creating pathways into learning and employment for local people in the High Speed Rail industry. Its innovative curriculum will focus on upskilling the region’s current workforce and attracting a new generation of construction workers and engineers onto courses linked to the varied and exciting roles the UK’s new High Speed Rail network will create.
The Birmingham college and its sister site in Doncaster are the first major construction projects aligned to the High Speed Rail industry, a clear indicator of the progress the project is making.
Prospective students interested in finding out more about the college, and the type of courses it will offer, can now register their interest via the newly launched website www.nchsr.ac.uk.