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Aerial shot of the rail college

Highfield on track with rail college lead role

Doncaster-based Highfield Qualifications has been appointed to develop a range of new learning programmes to be delivered at the town’s soon-to-open National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR).

The organisation, which is one of the top five exam boards in the UK, is leading the project to turn an apprenticeship curriculum developed by rail businesses into government-recognised and funded learning pathways, as well as developing a range of units that will form the basis of a Higher Education (HE) qualification.

Both the apprenticeship and HE routes, to be delivered at the NCHSR’s newly built, state-of-the-art campuses in Doncaster and Birmingham, will give students the skills to work on a range of high-speed rail projects, including HS2, at a time when the industry faces a shortfall in skilled recruits of nearly 70,000.

The apprenticeship programme is due to launch this autumn and the HE qualification in September 2018, with the college already being inundated with applications.

Jason Sprenger, Highfield chief executive, said, ‘The NCHSR has been established to help address the skills shortages in the rail industry, so it’s important that its learning programmes and qualifications are developed to a level that sets new standards for the sector both domestically and internationally. 

While we are delighted that Highfield was chosen after a rigorous tender process, we are also excited to be participating in such a landmark project for Doncaster and indeed for the UK. We believe our appointment as the lead developer reflects our reputation in the training sector for high quality learning programmes, and the very highest standards when it comes to qualification development’.

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said, ‘The UK needs at least 69,000 engineers and technicians every year to make up for the current shortfall in the sector. At the National College for High Speed Rail we are preparing to play a proactive part in tackling this shortage by developing a world-class curriculum for our apprenticeship schemes and further education courses.

With the expertise of Doncaster-based Highfield Qualification, we will be able to ensure that our employer-led courses can raise the benchmark at both a national and international level.

After an extensive tender process, we’re very pleased that we have been able to award this contract to a local firm, as the college is committed to working with local businesses wherever possible, and bringing new opportunities to people based in Doncaster.’    

For more information on Highfield Qualifications, go to http://www.highfieldabc.com/

For more information on the NCHSR or to register your interest, go to http://nchsr.ac.uk/  

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