News story

Major step forward for National College for High Speed Rail as construction starts in Birmingham and Doncaster

Ground breaking ceremonies mark construction start for National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham and Doncaster.

Visuals of the proposed National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) At Birmingham.
Visuals of the proposed National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) At Birmingham.
  • Ground breaking ceremonies at Birmingham and Doncaster sites mark the start of construction of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR).

  • Transport Minister Robert Goodwill, Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones and College Chair Terry Morgan visited the College’s Lakeside site in Doncaster, whilst Leader of Birmingham City Council John Clancy and Terry Morgan will visit the College’s Birmingham site this afternoon.

  • The college will provide the specialist training, skills and qualifications required to build HS2 and future rail projects.

Visuals of the proposed National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) At Birmingham.
Visuals of the proposed National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) At Birmingham.

The National College for High Speed Rail took a significant step forward today, Monday 9 May, as construction officially began on its two sites in Doncaster and Birmingham.

The breaking ground ceremony launched the official start of construction on the two sites, in Doncaster’s Lakeside and Birmingham’s university district. The College is on track to open its doors to students in September 2017.

This is the latest milestone for the new high tech training facility, which will provide Britain’s workforce with the specialist training, skills and qualifications required to build HS2 and future rail infrastructure projects.

Visuals of the proposed National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) At Doncaster.
Visuals of the proposed National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) At Doncaster.

Minister of State for Transport Robert Goodwill, said:

This landmark moment means we are one step closer to seeing students walk through the doors of the College in 2017, learning the cutting-edge skills we need to deliver HS2 and world-beating rail infrastructure.

This shows the transformational effect that HS2 is already having on our country - boosting skills, generating jobs and supporting economic growth – before spades are in the ground next year.

Terry Morgan, Chair of the Corporate Board for the National College for High Speed Rail, said:

The National College for High Speed Rail is progressing at an excellent pace and I am delighted that construction is underway on both sites in Doncaster and Birmingham.

The College will have a major and hugely positive impact on the ability of the rail industry to develop a multi-skilled specialist British workforce, capable of building HS2 and future infrastructure projects.

It will be a catalyst for growth in both Doncaster and Birmingham that will bring new investment into the area and provide highly skilled jobs for local people.

Birmingham City Council and Doncaster Council have carried out significant work in partnership with HS2 Ltd to help set up the structure of the College and develop the curriculum.

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said:

It is fantastic to see construction starting on the National College for High Speed Rail, a very significant project for both the UK and the future of Doncaster and our young people.

One of my priorities is to bring more highly skilled jobs to the borough which local people are able to benefit from, and the College will play a central role in delivering these kind of opportunities.

Rail is in our blood in Doncaster, and we have a proven track record of delivering world-class engineering and infrastructure projects that makes us the perfect location for the College.

Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council said:

This new college is a fantastic opportunity to build skills in this city and it’s really important that people across the whole of Birmingham benefit.

We have thousands of talented young engineers and scientists and this will be their chance to access world-leading, cutting-edge rail technology.

Birmingham will become the city of a thousand and one trades when we begin training an elite generation of high speed rail engineers.

Andrew Cleaves, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Director for Employment and Skills, said:

The National College for High Speed Rail will be a real game-changer for local people which is why the LEP is proud to be investing £6m, alongside investment from Birmingham City Council too.

This college is part of a wider strategy to up-skill local people and, in turn, deliver economic benefit for the region and allow us to compete on a global scale.

The College will equip thousands of students with the highly technical engineering skills required to build, operate and maintain a railway, including a strong emphasis on practical and virtual learning.

It will be open to a wide range of people including new entrants, existing workforce, students studying for a foundation degree in rail engineering, access students, mature entrants, higher apprentice rail engineering students, progression from L3 diploma rail engineering, continuous professional development and career changers.

Beth West with students and staff from Aston University Engineering Academy
Beth West with students and staff from Aston University Engineering Academy

Beth West, HS2 Ltd Commercial Director and member of the College Board, said:

The National College for High Speed Rail will help re-define what it means to be employed by the rail industry by attracting new people and providing the opportunity to create the diverse workforce that the industry aspires to.

It is vital that we act now to ensure we have enough skilled people to build HS2 and the College will provide specialist vocational training for the next generation of engineers and apprentices.

HS2 will improve capacity across Britain’s rail network, shorten journey times between major cities and boost the economy. It will support up to 100,000 jobs nationwide, create around 25,000 jobs during construction of Phases One and Two and create 2,000 apprenticeships.

Press and media enquiries

The press and media enquiries line is for accredited journalists only

Published 9 May 2016