£25m high-speed rail college granted planning approval

Planning permission has been granted for a new college where thousands of highly skilled workers will be trained to build and run the HS2 railway line.

The £25 million National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster is set to welcome its first students in September 2017 after construction gets under way in April next year.

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Designs for the college’s second site in Birmingham were unveiled last month at a public consultation event, ahead of a planning decision expected in March 2016.

Students will develop engineering skills vital to the success of HS2, as well as other infrastructure projects up and down the country in the future.

It is thought that HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs during the construction of the first two phases, as well as support 2,000 apprenticeships.

Terry Morgan, chair of the corporate board for the National College for High Speed Rail, welcomed the news, saying the planning approval was a significant step forward.

He said: “The college will have a hugely positive impact on the ability of the UK rail supply industry to develop a multi-skilled specialist British workforce that is essential to the timely delivery of HS2 and the ability to respond to other infrastructure projects in future.”

At three storeys tall, the college in Doncaster, to be built by contractor Willmott Dixon, will cover 7,200 square metres and have capacity for up to 1,050 students at a time.

Learners will study a curriculum that will cover areas including track rolling stock, railway infrastructure, traction power supply and distribution, and business management and operation planning.

They will also be able to take advantage of dedicated facilities, such as a 1,900 square metre workshop, classrooms, project spaces, lecture areas and seminar rooms.

Ros Jones, Doncaster’s mayor, called the college a game changer for the local area.

“It will encourage new investment, attract new companies into the borough and provide new high quality jobs for local people,” she said.

“We are on a fast track to deliver a major boost for our growing rail sector and the Doncaster economy.”

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