Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, has officially launched The National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster.
The new employer-led college - which has been donated more than 700 metres of rail by British Steel - has been opened during Rail Week 2017 and is the largest of five new national colleges created by Government to ensure British workers can learn world-class skills.
With a second campus in Birmingham, the new college will train 150 learners across both sites during the 2017-18 academic year. At full capacity the college will train 1,200 learners a year.
Those interested in attending the college this year can now apply to be accepted on to two additional learner intakes in January and April 2018. Bursaries to help with the cost of study are available for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The National College for High Speed Rail is dedicated to solving the engineering, design, planning, manufacturing and construction skills gap that Britain faces as it looks to invest billions of pounds in modernising Britain’s rail network and wider transport infrastructure.
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.
The college will play a key role in generating the workforce of the future who will design and build the UK’s new high-speed rail network and future infrastructure projects.
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.”
Peter Smith, British Steel’s Managing Director Rail, said: “The college is an excellent facility and will play a vital role in training the high calibre rail engineers HS2 requires.
“It’s a source of great pride the students are starting out on their careers by working on rail donated by British Steel, the type of rail we’ve supplied to a series of major high speed projects across the world.
“British Steel expects to play a significant role in HS2 and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership, with the college and its students, at this exciting time for them and the UK’s rail industry.”