90 Yorkshire companies win HS2 contracts

The construction of the new high speed railway HS2 has already seen 90 Yorkshire firms win new business.

This morning, HS2 set out its programme of skills, employment and education interventions to ensure the delivery of the HS2 project whilst aiming to make the UK a worldwide leader in high speed rail. It said that 15,000 jobs would be created nationwide by 2020. Over 7,000 roles are already supported by the project.

With construction starting next year, many more jobs around the country will help build a skills base to export around the world.

Through HS2 contracts, around 90 companies have already won work in Yorkshire. HS2 supports over 60 jobs at Soil Engineering Geoservices, which is based in Leeds.

Soil Engineering Geoservices has won contracts valued around £19m to conduct geological investigations on behalf of HS2, exploring the ground over which the new high speed line will be built.

Over 60 people have been working on the contracts, and the company has created 20 apprenticeships, with staff based between Camberley and Leeds.

Simon Baxter, the firm’s business development and marketing manager, said: “HS2 has formed a core business activity for us over the last four years, and we look to maintain this for some time to come.

“Due to the duration of the works, we have already delivered apprenticeships in both Land Drilling and Management, and had opportunity to offer significant training and advancement to several staff within the company, and will continue to do so.”

Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “Our skills strategy, launched today, shows how we will create a sustainable pipeline of jobs and skills for companies across the whole country, which boost regional economies and help Britain compete internationally.

“Our programme will tackle the skills challenges faced by the wider transport infrastructure sector, and ensure the UK has the best skills to deliver HS2 as well as major infrastructure projects in the future.”

New initiatives will also be introduced over the next 12 months to stimulate interest in STEM subjects and encourage more young people into transport infrastructure related careers.

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “Anyone considering their future career prospects needs to quickly realise that HS2 is about much more than just railways and is a project that is no longer ‘further down the line’.

“Significant work is already underway on HS2 right across the country, with numerous business contracts already signed to activate the first phase of works. The programme of activity on HS2 is incredibly diverse and represents an exciting new approach to delivering transport and infrastructure across the country.

“Our college sits at the heart of a growing movement to upskill the national workforce that will deliver HS2 and its associated projects, as well as subsequent major engineering projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

Mowbray added: “These developments will bring an array of opportunities in design, construction, engineering and project management for example; spanning a wide range of sectors, career prospects and disciplines. As the HS2 Skills, Employment and Education strategy testifies, there will be literally thousands of opportunities to work on HS2 and its associated works, and ultimately to benefit from its legacy.

“The state-of-the-art facilities that we have available at our Birmingham and Doncaster campuses offer learners the best possible environment to get ahead, and to gain the world class skills they will need to deliver major national transport and infrastructure projects like HS2.”

Opportunities will be opened up through a new Job Brokerage Service to help people access the jobs created by the HS2 supply chain, and a new Secondary Education Engagement Programme will inspire the next generation to enter transport infrastructure careers.

HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani MP concluded: “HS2 will provide the backbone of our future rail network and is already driving jobs and economic growth across the country. HS2 already supports over 7,000 jobs – forecast to reach around 15,000 by 2020 – and is building the talented workforce of the future that this transformative project needs.”

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “Apprenticeships offer incredible opportunities for young people. Everyone studying an apprenticeship with HS2 will be able to look back and say they played a role creating our country’s future. Not only that, the apprentices are also learning exactly the skills that future employers are looking for – that’s what apprenticeships are all about.

“HS2 is creating 2,000 apprenticeships and is a fantastic example of a national project that is providing opportunities for everyone, whatever their background and wherever they come from. I look forward to meeting some of the apprentices that have been a part of making it happen.”