LEP consults on HS2 College


Chair of the LEP, Roger Marsh, will today (9th April) meet with key regional businesses and rail industry supply chain employers to make the case for locating a new HS2 college in Leeds City Region.

In response to the government consultation on the location of the college, the event aims to bring together a united voice to champion Leeds City Region as the ideal location to benefit both the regional and the national economy.

The proposed college will concentrate on delivering the high level skills needed for high speed rail and other major engineering projects of the future, including HS2.

The consultation is not just focused on the location of the site but will highlight the UK’s skills needs relating to the design, construction and operation of HS2.

The Leeds City Region boasts many unique qualities which would enhance the proposed college. These include:

  • A strong railway heritage throughout the region, namely the National Railway Museum and the Network Rail Signalling and training centre in York Central;
  • Specialist rail expertise at the Universities of Huddersfield and York;
  • Leeds College of Building is the only specialist construction college in the UK and has excellent links with civil engineering contractors. The College also uniquely offers a Civic Engineering Higher Level Apprenticeships in association with the University of Leeds.
  • The region has many rail, civil engineering and design engineering businesses who would want to be involved in HS2 and support young people to have the right talent to benefit from the opportunities ahead.

Support from rail industry supply chain employers will be an important factor in determining where the College will be located. Since the Leeds City Region has more people employed in rail-related industries than anywhere else in the North, the LEP is keen to use this event to secure the support of key companies and their supply chains.

Julie Carrier, Head of Rail at WSP which is based in the region commented:

“Our industry has something of an image problem - young people don’t always realise the amazing careers they could have in rail and yet WSP teams are behind some of the most exciting and transformative rail network projects in the world. It is crucial that, collectively, we use the investment in the high speed rail network to develop a highly skilled construction and railway engineering workforce which is why this college is so important.”

Roger Marsh, who is hosting the meeting, said:

“We are committed to optimising the potential that HS2 can offer the Leeds City Region and this goes much further than just the enhanced transport links. We already have a well- established skills network across the region, and it is vital that all partners, both public and private sector, join forces to champion the potential of the region.”