Doncaster chosen for National High Speed Rail College

Published 9th October 2014 at 12:11pm

Doncaster in the Sheffield City Region is to become the home of the new National High Speed Rail College.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:“As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people.

“The benefits of high-speed rail will not just be seen by those commuting between London and the North, but through the thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships created because of HS2.

“The opening of this National College will also ensure that we have a pool of locally-trained workers with the right skills to draw upon for future projects.”

Boom times beckon for the rail and engineering sector in Yorkshire and the North of England following the Government announcement today (30 September) that the elite training and research centre will based at two locations – Doncaster and Birmingham.

The college will train thousands of new engineers, who are needed to deliver billions of pounds worth of rail contracts over the coming decades, including the new HS2 high speed rail line. The successful Centre for Rail Engineering and Technical Expertise (CREATE) bid, coordinated by Doncaster Council, involved a range of private sector businesses and was supported by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said:“I am delighted that our hard work to bring the new National High Speed Rail College to Doncaster has been a success and I would like to thank everyone who has been part of our bid, or supported it.

“Doncaster has always led the way in terms of cutting edge rail engineering and this decision confirms our position as the home of rail.

“It’s a great day for Doncaster.”

Doncaster’s fast paced rail and engineering renaissance has stepped up a gear this year with over 10,000 people employed in the sector and firms having order books in excess of £1.7billion over the next five years. There is also strong interest from companies looking to locate to one of Britain’s most important railway centres.

Hundreds of people, businesses and public sector partners including Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities, universities and colleges and chambers of commerce from up and down the country backed the bid.

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:“The new HS2 College is good news for jobs, skills and economic growth in Doncaster and the Sheffield City Region.

“The Sheffield City Region HS2 College bid brought together local leaders from across the private and public sectors to make the strongest case possible for the college to be located in Doncaster.

“Together with strong support from all the other LEPs in Yorkshire and the North East, this played a major part in persuading Government to locate the college in the North.

“Sheffield City Region has all the elements needed to make the flagship HS2 College a great success, including a reputation and heritage in rail engineering, its location on the East Coast Mainline, an exceptional engineering business base and world-class further and higher education providers.”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said:“Congratulations to Doncaster and all those who worked tirelessly to secure the High Speed Rail College for Yorkshire.

“We proudly offered our support for the Doncaster bid early on in the process and are delighted that the excellent opportunities that were evidenced by a strong partnership, have been recognised by government.

“The economic benefits and training opportunities for residents will be felt far and wide, including in the Leeds City Region, and we look forward to working closely with our colleagues in Doncaster and at the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership to develop these further.”

George Tillier, Interim Chair of CREATE and Managing Director, Unipart Rail T&RS said:“This decision is tremendous news for the rail and engineering sector in Doncaster and further afield.

“There has been incredible backing from so many people to bring this High Speed Rail College to the region and their commitment has been fully justified by the decision. Doncaster’s rail heritage, connectivity and cluster of leading rail businesses is second to none.

“As a key hub for Unipart Rail we expect to see significant business benefits from having this world class training centre based here.”

Simon Carr, Managing Director of Henry Boot Construction and Incoming-Chair of the National Federation of Builders, said:“This is excellent news for Sheffield City Region. Our business and local authority leaders have been working closely with supporters from across the UK to make the case for the HS2 College in Doncaster.

“The Sheffield City Region HS2 College will make Doncaster a worldwide hub for future rail engineering training. As one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Europe, the scale of demand for engineering and construction skills from HS2 will be unprecedented.

“The new College will have clear benefits for businesses across the Sheffield City Region who will be looking to win contracts and recruit skilled staff as the £42.6 billion HS2 project gets underway.”

Phil Harris, Chief Executive Officer, Doncaster Chamber, said:“As part of the lobbying activity surrounding Doncaster’s bid for the Rail College Doncaster Chamber secured the support and backing of all the Chambers of Commerce in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East and also Cambridgeshire – a network that represents around 15,000 businesses.

“On behalf of all those Chambers and businesses I can say that we are delighted by this announcement.

“Doncaster offers great connectivity, links to world class rail engineering businesses and great inroads to outstanding educational establishments.

“Moreover, positioning the college in Doncaster provides the greatest opportunity for re-balancing the economy and supporting growth in the north which is just what HS2 is meant to be all about.

“We look forward to working with local businesses, Doncaster Council, HS2 and other stakeholders to now maximise the benefit of this project for businesses and residents in Doncaster and the North of England.”

Commenting on the news Wabtec Group Managing Director, Chris Weatherall, said:  “Wabtec Rail is delighted Doncaster will host the High Speed Rail College. This announcement confirms that Doncaster is one of the leading centres of railway engineering in the UK.

“The strength of support from businesses across the North has paid dividends and we can now look forward with increased optimism.

“This decision will support the continuing growth in railway engineering at Wabtec, in Doncaster and across the region. It will also encourage more young people to enter the industry.”

The successful Centre for Rail Engineering and Technical Expertise (CREATE) bid was coordinated by Doncaster Council and supported by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

The College will be built on a ‘ready to go’ 5.1 acre site at Doncaster’s Lakeside. It will be within walking distance of household names in the rail industry like DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Hitachi and offers easy access for employers and students from across the UK.

For further information about the rail and engineering sector, CREATE and Doncaster as a business location go to:www.businessdoncaster.com