HS2 will sup­port spe­cial­ist jobs, claim bosses

Coventry Telegraph - - NEWS - By TELE­GRAPH RE­PORTER Mark Thurston

THE con­struc­tion of HS2 will sup­port 15,000 en­gi­neer­ing, de­sign and build­ing jobs by 2020 ac­cord­ing to new re­port is­sued to­day.

This is as work on the first Lon­don to Birm­ing­ham phase of high speed rail picks up pace and will rise to an es­ti­mated 30,000 jobs as the ma­jor en­gi­neer­ing pro­ject pro­gresses.

Now rail bosses have set out their plans for skills and em­ploy­ment, with prom­ises to create ap­pren­tice­ships and em­ploy lo­cal peo­ple and busi­nesses.

HS2 chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Thurston said: “Our skills strat­egy, launched to­day, 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.”

De­tails of new jobs and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties have been is­sued in the wake of news that the sec­ond phase of con­struc­tion, tak­ing the line to Manch­ester and Leeds will be de­layed by a year and with in­creas­ing num­bers of politi­cians call­ing for the £56 bil­lion pro­ject to be stopped

But Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters say that HS2 is on track and will boost the UK econ­omy.

HS2 Min­is­ter Nus­rat Ghani MP said: “HS2 will pro­vide the back­bone of our fu­ture rail net­work and is al­ready driv­ing jobs and eco­nomic growth across the coun­try. HS2 al­ready sup­ports over 7,000 jobs – fore­cast to reach around 15,000 by 2020 – and is build­ing the tal­ented work­force of the fu­ture that this trans­for­ma­tive pro­ject needs.

“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.”

The gov­ern­ment also said new ini­tia­tives will be in­tro­duced over the next 12 months to stim­u­late in­ter­est in sci­ence, en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy sub­jects and en­cour­age more young peo­ple into trans­port in­fra­struc­ture re­lated careers. The Na­tional Col­lege for High Speed Rail at Eastside opened its doors to the first wave of ap­pren­tices ear­lier this year. Op­por­tu­ni­ties will be opened up through a new Job Bro­ker­age Ser­vice to help peo­ple ac­cess the jobs cre­ated by the HS2 sup­ply chain, and a new Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion En­gage­ment Pro­gramme will in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion to en­ter trans­port in­fra­struc­ture careers.

Al­ready con­trac­tor Bal­four Beatty VINCI has taken on staff, in­clud­ing ap­pren­tice civil en­gi­neers, quan­tity sur­vey­ors and pro­ject man­agers for the devel­op­ment. The con­trac­tor’s skills and em­ploy­ment chief Shilpi Ak­bar said: “We are draw­ing up plans to be the largest re­cruiter in the West Mid­lands, and through work­ing on the HS2 pro­ject we aim to ad­dress cur­rent work­force chal­lenges along­side a press­ing need to trans­form and mod­ernise the con­struc­tion sec­tor.

“Our plan­ning and de­liv­ery in how the re­gion can ac­cess these jobs is cru­cial. We will be work­ing with Jobcen­tre Plus and the Na­tional Careers’ job bro­ker­age ser­vice to pro­mote these op­por­tu­ni­ties. We aim to also at­tract lo­cal un­em­ployed and un­der­em­ployed young peo­ple and adults from di­verse back­grounds in­clud­ing peo­ple who may need ad­di­tional or spe­cial­ist sup­port.”

The strat­egy will boost re­gional economies and help Bri­tain com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally.

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