UK: HS2 Ltd Publishes Skills Strategy for Training and Exportable Skills

Institute for Apprenticeships © Intellisystem Technologies (licence)

HS2 Ltd has published a ‘Skills Strategy’ of employment and training initiatives to ensure the successful delivery of the high-speed line and the UK’s position as a world leader in the sector. The project already supports more than 7,000 jobs, and this number will increase when construction starts in 2019. 15,000 people are forecast to be employed on HS2 by 2020.

In addition to full-time jobs, HS2 Ltd is also creating 2,000 apprenticeships for young people to learn a trade whilst working on the project. A new ‘job brokerage service‘ will enable access to the opportunities created by HS2, while the government wants to encourage general interest in careers related to transport infrastructure by creating a Secondary Education Engagement Programme which focuses on STEM subjects.

Anne Milton MP, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, said:

“Apprenticeships offer incredible opportunities for young people. Everyone studying an apprenticeship with HS2 will be able to look back and say they played a role creating our country’s future. Not only that, the apprentices are also learning the skills that future employers are looking for, that’s what apprenticeships are all about.”

Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said:

“Our skills strategy shows how we will create a sustainable pipeline of jobs and skills for companies across the whole country, which boost regional economies and help Britain compete internationally. Our programme will tackle the skills challenges faced by the wider transport infrastructure sector, and ensure the UK has the best skills to deliver HS2 as well as major infrastructure projects in the future.”

Nusrat Ghani MP, HS2 Minister, said:

“HS2 will provide the backbone of our future rail network and is already driving jobs and economic growth across the country. The ambitious programme of skills, employment and education set out today will see the economic benefits of HS2 fully realised across the UK, boosting productivity and sharing prosperity across the country.”

Several companies have already received contracts to work on the project. Explore Manufacturing, part of the Laing O’Rourke group, will work with LM joint venture to build major bridges during Phase One of construction. The modular components for the bridges will be manufactured at Explore Industrial Park in Workshop, North Nottinghamshire before assembly on site in the West Midlands.

Alan Clucas, Director of Explore Manufacturing, said:

“We are proud to be working on the biggest rail infrastructure programmes in the country. For Explore Manufacturing it means a significant contribution in digital design and high quality off site manufacturing, which shortens time needed on site, and has big benefits in safety, efficiency and programme costs.”

Richard Kirkham, LM Project Director, said:

“By working on the HS2 project, and linking to the National College for High Speed Rail with 4 apprenticeships, as well as other schools and college liaison across the region, we’re giving local people the opportunity to gain world class skills and knowledge, create a sustainable pipeline of jobs, and be in a great position to win future work with large-scale infrastructure projects.”

Explore Manufacturing recruits at least four apprentices every year and 35 new jobs will be created at the company when it starts work on HS2.

The long-term development of training and exportable skills is a central aspect of HS2. Bombardier Transportation and Hitachi Rail Europe are specifically integrating the government’s vision for long-term skills training into their joint proposal to design and build the high-speed trainsets for the project. Expanding the general high-speed rail sector is also a priority. In  2017 the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) in Doncaster opened its doors to the first cohort of learners.

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