HS2 announces formal start to project with 22,000 jobs boost

HS2 Ltd has today (September 4) announced the formal start of construction on the project.

Earlier this year, on 15 April, the Department for Transport (DfT) gave approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed (NtP) to the four Main Works Civils Contractors (MWCCs) working on the project (names in Notes to Editors) to commence full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway (the route from London – West Midlands).

Today’s announcement signals that the MWCCs are moving from enabling works, scheme design and preparatory work, to full construction of the railway.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better – and with construction now formally underway, it’s set to create around 22,000 new jobs.

“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities.

“But HS2’s transformational potential goes even further. By creating hundreds of apprenticeships and thousands of skilled jobs, HS2 will fire up economic growth and help to rebalance opportunity across this country for years to come.”

HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, the Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture (BBV JV), along with its supply chain partners, has said it expects to be one of the biggest recruiters in the West Midlands over the next two years, with up to 7,000 skilled jobs required to complete its section of the HS2 route.

The EKFB Joint Venture (Eiffage, Kier, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial) – building the section from the Long Itchington Wood site in Warwickshire south to the Chiltern tunnel portals, has said it will recruit over 4,000 roles in the next two years, many based in Milton Keynes, as work ramps up in the area.

HS2’s Tier One construction partners based in Greater London: Skanska Costain STRABAG (SCS JV), Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA (BBVS JV), Align JV and Mace Dragados JV, confirmed that they will collectively recruit over 10,000 new jobs as HS2 gears up for major construction. HS2 Ltd itself is already directly recruiting for 500 new roles over the next three months, with the majority based in Birmingham, as the project moves into the construction phase.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today marks a major milestone in this government’s ambitions to build back better from Covid-19.

“Shovels in the ground to deliver this new railway means thousands of jobs building the future of our country’s infrastructure. This fantastic moment is what leaders across the North and Midlands have called for – action to level up our country by boosting capacity on our railways, improving connections between our regions, and spreading prosperity.”

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd said: “This is a hugely exciting moment in the progress of HS2. After 10 years of development and preparatory work, today we can formally announce the start of full construction, unlocking thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across the project.

“We are already seeing the benefits that building HS2 is bringing to the UK economy in the short term, but it’s important to emphasise how transformative the railway will be for our country when operational. With the start of construction, the reality of high speed journeys joining up Britain’s biggest cities in the North and Midlands and using that connectivity to help level up the country has just moved a step closer.”

The Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture expects to recruit 7,000 construction jobs on the West Midlands section of the HS2 route, with women and under-25s the core focus for recruitment and skills investment.

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