HS2 College announcement welcomed

Opening will provide boost for Science Park.

Local politicians and union leaders have welcomed news that the proposed High Speed Rail College will be located in Birmingham, as well as Doncaster. Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement at the Conservative Party Conference currently taking place at the ICC, saying “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”.

Up to 2,000 apprentices will be trained at the college. A governing board, based in Birmingham, will be established to oversee the development of the college which will be spread across Birmingham Science Park and Doncaster’s Lakeside Campus and will provide up to 25,000 jobs during construction.

Securing the college will provide specialist vocational training to the next generation of engineers working on the High Speed 2 project, also helpig to solve the growing skill shortage in the city.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore said that, “We will now rapidly move ahead with the development of the Birmingham site at Aston Science Park with a view to having it ready for students to be trained by 2017. It is also hugely encouraging that a governing board will be established in Birmingham to oversee the development of the college.

“The college will add to the presence of HS2 in the city, which is at the heart of the high-speed rail network, with the recent announcement that the project’s headquarters will also be in Birmingham. This gives the city a real advantage and will be a boost to Birmingham’s economy and that of the wider region.”

Meanwhile, Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron, added: “This is an important step in ensuring the workforce is in place to deliver HS2 efficiently and on time. It will also give young people the training they need to get into highly skilled engineering jobs. Good quality apprenticeships are one of the best ways for young people to move from education into work, and the High Speed Rail College will help improve skills throughout transport and engineering.

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone. It is now important that we press ahead with the HS2 project quickly in order to secure the long term benefits that HS2 will bring to both the West and East Midlands.”