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Birmingham on track to become home of High Speed Rail College

Birmingham on track to become home of High Speed Rail College

🕔13.Jun 2014

Birmingham is battling against Derby, Doncaster and Manchester for the right to become the home of the new National College for High Speed Rail, which will provide training for HS2 engineers.

The three cities have been shortlisted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and a final decision about the preferred location for the college will be made later in the year.

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.

Birmingham’s bid, prepared by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) puts forward four possible sites – Eastside Locks, Birmingham Science Park Aston, Riverside in Perry Barr and Jennens Road in Eastside.

Led by a private sector steering group, the bid has support from a network of almost 60 businesses involved in rail and construction.

Alongside Birmingham City Council, it also harnesses the talents and resources of the nine FE colleges involved in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull FE Consortium and the LEP’s three universities.

If successful, the bid will see the college work with other skills providers and employers around the country to ensure the best training available.

The proposal also has the support of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership. GBSLEP Deputy Chair Steve Hollis said: “It is excellent news that our submissions to host the High Speed Rail College in Birmingham have been well received and we have been shortlisted by Government.

“We said at the time that we believe the case we presented for Birmingham in terms of sites, central location, networks to colleges and employers was a compelling one.

“The private sector-led partnership working with the GBSLEP, the nine Greater Birmingham FE Colleges, Universities and Birmingham City Council has, we believe, everything the Government requires to make this project work.

“Preparing for the arrival of HS2 is an important part of our Strategic Economic Plan and the college is a component of this. “We look forward to working with Government on the next stage of the bid.”

The new college will have a hub in one of the four shortlisted cities, as well as facilities in other towns and cities to provide training for HS2 engineers.

The first phase of the £42.6bn HS2 project will connect London to Birmingham; with Derby, Doncaster and Manchester either on or near the proposed second phase of the route, connecting Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

Crossrail chairman and chair of the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering Terry Morgan will be involved in the final phase of the selection process.

Mr 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.”

Representatives from Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester have been invited to present their final proposals in late June, before a final decision is made in July.

The High Speed Rail College will be the first specialist national college to be developed, with plans to create additional facilities for the nuclear, coding and energy industries.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer added: “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.”

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