Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, visited the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) to meet businesses supporting the creation of a new state-of-the-art engineering and technology facility in Doncaster.
The Minister had the opportunity for a first glimpse inside the college today following the completion of exterior works and the installation of industry-leading equipment for students. So far businesses have donated more than £300,000 worth of materials and in-kind support to ensure that the students of the college can learn their skills on industry-leading equipment.
The materials - including 700 metres worth of rail track for the college’s external training grounds - have been donated through a network of suppliers thanks to the support of businesses including British Steel and Rhomberg Sersa.
During the visit, Andrew Jones also announced an additional £60,000 worth of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT). The funds will go directly towards the National College’s bursary schemes to help eligible students with the cost of study.
As an employer-led college, NCHSR is dedicated to solving the engineering, design, planning, manufacturing and construction skills gap in the rail industry. 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 rail projects.
The college in Doncaster will focus on rail engineering to reflect the proud rail heritage that the town is famous for. The college is now looking for businesses across Doncaster and South Yorkshire to sign its leadership pledge and support the college with materials, equipment as well as teaching and mentoring so students attending the college learn from the best in the business. There are an estimated 200 businesses in rail and engineering across South Yorkshire which will benefit from the highly qualified students who will graduate from the college.
The college, and its sister site in Birmingham, are set to train 1,000 people every year. The college will offer a broad ranging curriculum which means there are opportunities available for school leavers, those already working in the industry or anyone seeking a change of career.
Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “HS2 will carry over 300,000 people a day, improving connections between our great cities, generating jobs, and helping us build an economy that works for all.
“The National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) here in Doncaster is already having a positive effect, creating jobs and opportunities in South Yorkshire and the industry investment shows how much they value the training.
“The doors open in September and I am delighted that our new £60,000 bursary contribution, which could fund specialist training for around 10 students, will help deliver the skills and qualifications required to build the world’s most advanced passenger railway, HS2, and future rail infrastructure.”
Clair Mowbray, Chief Executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “Doncaster has a proud history in the construction and maintenance of Britain’s railways. The National College for High Speed Rail will make sure it has a proud future too.
“As an employer-led college we are grateful to forward-thinking businesses like Rhomberg Sersa and British Steel, which understand the importance of making a long-term commitment to develop the next generation of rail professionals in this country. These donations will ensure students at the National College for High Speed Rail learn using the best possible equipment.
“We are grateful for the industry support we have received to date. However, there is still much more that we can do, so we want to hear from businesses and industry professionals across South Yorkshire who are interested in helping us create a world-class skills centre in Doncaster.”
“Those interested can contact the college to pledge their support, after which they will receive more information about opportunities to work with us on addressing the UK’s current skills shortage.”
The college, which has been made possible by the Government’s £40 million investment, will see its first initial intake of students this September, and has received extremely positive support from both Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, who donated the five-acre site on Carolina Way.
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones, said: “It is fantastic companies like Rhomberg Sersa, based in Doncaster, are getting behind the National College for High Speed Rail and we urge more to pledge their support.
“The college will enable businesses to tap into highly skilled and qualified rail engineers that help take them to the next level. For young people looking for a career path into a rewarding and well paid job in an expanding sector, the college should be high on their agenda.
“Doncaster has always led the way in the rail industry and the college will cement our position as a rail town.”
British Steel has donated 41 lengths of 18 metre rail which will be installed inside the college before some of it is built around. Rhomberg Sersa’s UK managing director Carl Garrud is on the board of directors of the National College for High Speed Rail. Rhomberg Sersa has been instrumental in helping to secure the materials for the college so far and will be installing the track at the college.
Peter Smith, British Steel’s Managing Director for Rail, said: “High speed rail is a hugely important industry for this country. The National College for High Speed Rail will help train the rail engineers of the future and I am delighted that British Steel is able to support them.”
Chris Kearns, Project Manager for Rhomberg Sersa, said: “It’s been great to be involved in the development of the college over for the last few years. So far, working with the college and our suppliers we have secured £300,000 worth of materials at no cost for the National College for High Speed Rail and this is just a part of our long-term commitment to train the rail engineers of the future”.
Businesses interested in partnering with the college and prospective students interested in finding out more about what it has to offer, can now register their interest via the newly launched website www.nchsr.ac.uk.