Four locations across the country have been shortlisted to become the home of the National College for High Speed Rail, Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock announced today (13 June 2014). The new College ‘hub’ and a number of ‘spokes’ based across the country will provide training to the next generation of engineers working on the HS2 project and beyond.
The areas shortlisted for further development are Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester. The quality of responses was very high overall with strong bids from many locations. All bids were assessed against a range of criteria including the size and availability of a suitable site, accessibility, and the potential to develop strong links with employers and providers already operating in the sector.
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:
I was extremely encouraged by the level of interest that has been shown by areas across the country in being part of meeting the high speed rail skills challenge. We received a number of very strong proposals, and not all can be taken forward to the final stage. However, it is clear that there is already some excellent partnership activity taking place between education providers and the rail industry across the country which is resulting in the delivery of some outstanding provision.
For the college to be a success, it will need to bring together this expertise so we can achieve high quality skills provision in this important sector. We hope that all those locations that responded to the consultation will develop strong links with the main college site, so that as many learners as possible have access to the opportunities that HS2 and other rail engineering projects will create.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said:
“HS2 is a vital part of our long-term economic plan, providing and safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs. The new College will equip the engineers of the future with the skills they need to secure these jobs and similar ones in the UK and across the globe.
“This new national college will operate with a ‘hub and spoke’ model, so there is huge potential for towns and cities across the country to benefit from the opportunities it will bring.”
To ensure the success of the college, BIS has appointed Terry Morgan to advise on its development. Terry Morgan is the chairman of Crossrail, chair of the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering and was previously chief executive of Tube Lines and group managing director for BAE Systems. His first task was to oversee the selection of the shortlist and he will be involved in final phase of the selection process.
Terry Morgan said:
“Engineering skills are vital to the rail industry, and I am hugely excited to be given the opportunity to help shape the design and development of the new college. We need to ensure that the college can deliver the top class training and qualifications needed, both for high speed rail and other future infrastructure projects across the country.
“I came from a vocational background, and I think the high speed rail college is a fantastic opportunity to inspire a new generation of motivated young people to follow this pathway”.
Representatives from Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester have been invited to give presentations to an Advisory Group on Friday 27 June in order for a final decision to be made in July. The group will consist of Terry Morgan, officials from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport as well officials from HS2 Limited.
The High Speed Rail College is the first specialist National College to be developed and plans are in place to create more including in nuclear, coding and energy, in the coming years.
The development of the National College for High Speed Rail is in line with the government’s Industrial Strategy. This will help the UK economy and businesses to compete and grow as well as secure jobs and increase skills for future generations.
Notes to Editors:
- The National College for High Speed Rail forms part of the government’s work with HS2 Ltd to ensure the new north-south railway delivers a tangible skills legacy that will serve the UK for the next century and continue the proud tradition the UK has for worldwide demand for its engineering expertise. It is expected that HS2 will create up to 2,000 apprentices during the lifetime of construction.
- It accompanies the work of the Growth Taskforce, which is an independent group of experts spanning public and private sectors and academia. They will advise government on actions to maximise the benefits of HS2 to regions across the UK. It is expected that the college will be open by 2017, when construction of HS2 will begin.
- The government’s long-term plan is to build a strong, more competitive economy and a fairer society.
Industrial Strategy gives impetus to the plan for growth by providing businesses, investors and the public with clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.
The first achievements and future priorities of the industrial strategy have been published and can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/industrial-strategy-early-successes-and-future-priorities.