High-Speed Rail college opens its doors in Doncaster

High-Speed Rail college opens its doors in Doncaster

The new employer-led college is the largest of five new national colleges created by the Government to help British workers learn important job-based skills.

The development has been supported by Doncaster Council who helped to secure funding for the scheme and were also involved in the design and construction processes.

The new college has a second campus in Birmingham and will be able to train 150 learners across both sites during the 2017-18 academic year.

Once at full capacity, the college will train up to 1,200 learners a year.

Those interested in attending the college can now apply to be accepted onto two additional learner intakes in January and April 2018.

The goal of the National College for High Speed Rail is to solve the engineering, design, planning, manufacturing and construction skills gap that Britain faces as it looks continues to invest billions of pounds in its rail network and wider transport infrastructure.

Over the next five years, it is estimated that businesses in Britain will need 182,000 new engineers every year.

Right now, it is falling short by as many as 69,000 engineers a year.

The rail industry in particular faces even further skills shortages, with one in five rail engineers currently aged over-55.

With Britain’s move into high-speed rail and HS2 alone set to create 25,000 new jobs, including 2,000 apprenticeships, careers in this industry are becoming more sought after.

The campus on Carolina Way in Doncaster has been equipped with the very latest in cutting-edge technology, including virtual reality training on board a Eurostar power car, an augmented reality classroom, and a dedicated BIM (building information modelling) cave.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones, said: “This college will be instrumental in training the engineers that our country desperately needs - so some of the most exciting infrastructure projects ever seen can be delivered.

“Our firms in the rail sector will be supported, with a workforce that has the skills and ability to deliver the infrastructure projects of the future and it will enhance the role of our rail industry as an international exporter.

“But most importantly, it will help many young people to realise those aspirations by gaining cutting-edge skills, and offering a route into highly productive, well-paid employment.”

Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening said: “It has been great to attend the official launch of the NCHSR.

“It’s part of how we are steadily transforming technical education in this country, training up a new generation of skilled young people and the existing workforce so that British business has the skills it needs and people have the opportunities they want – a win-win for everyone.

“We can only do this in partnership with employers – the NCHSR is just one great example of this. The impressive new building and training facilities are at the forefront of our ambitions to create a world-class system of technical education.

“Doncaster is also one of the 12 Opportunity Areas that will benefit from a share of £72 million to raise attainment and aspirations. NCHSR is part of this work, making sure Doncaster’s local talent gets the opportunity to fulfil its potential and ensuring a prosperous future for the UK.”

Clair Mowbray, chief executive for the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “This is a momentous day at the National College for High Speed Rail, as we officially launch and welcome our first learners and apprentices into Doncaster.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Government, Doncaster Council, and all of the employers for the support the college has received to get to this stage.

“However, the work has only just begun; we want to make sure that we have a UK workforce that has the skills to not only deliver HS2 and other major infrastructure projects but also become the pioneers of the UK’s new high-speed rail industry.

“Now that the building is complete and fitted-out with the latest cutting-edge technology, our focus turns exclusively to our learners and building the capacity of the college to help solve Britain’s productivity crisis and engineering shortage.

“We are proud of having created a world-class rail skills centre in Doncaster and being a gateway for a hugely exciting and rewarding career building Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

“This town helped build the pioneering railways of Britain’s past and with your help, we can now become a hub for building the pioneering railways of Britain’s future.”