More than 30 businesses have pledged their support for a new apprenticeship scheme that is set to be delivered at Doncaster's National College for High Speed Rail.
The new Level 4 High Speed Rail and Infrastructure Higher Technician Apprenticeship standard has been crafted by the firms on behalf of the college to address the 'current shortfall of 69,000 engineers and technicians per year across the UK'.
The course will be delivered at both rail college sites at Lakeside in Doncaster and in Birmingham. The course will help to ensure workers in the rail and engineering sector will have the necessary skills to design and build the UK’s new high speed rail network, including HS2 and future rail projects.
Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “As an employer-led college, the support we receive from businesses is absolutely critical in ensuring that we equip future generations with the real-life skills that will be needed to develop the UK’s high speed rail infrastructure.
“We are very grateful for the support we’ve already received – not only for our apprenticeship trailblazers but also in terms of equipment donations and pledges to take on learners following their time at the college. We would still like to hear from businesses and industry professionals who are interested in working with us to prepare the future workforce in rail and engineering."
In September 2017, a cohort of apprentices already working within the rail industry will be commencing study at the two college sites. After being inundated with expressions of interest, potential students are now being asked to put in applications to start the following year in September 2018.
Led by employers, the apprenticeship will form a core part of the curriculum at the new college, combining on-the-job training with studying towards the equivalent of a foundation degree. Learners will be paid during their study, and mentored by a high speed rail employer as they build their skills towards achieving full-time employment after finishing the course.
Some of the country's major employers are among the 30 plus firms to pledge their support, including Balfour Beatty, British Steel, Carillion, Edilon and VolkerRail.