Major milestone for new national college in Birmingham
- Design for National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham unveiled
- Public being consulted before planning application is submitted
Members of the public are being invited to share their thoughts on the vision for the new National College for High Speed Rail headquarters which is to be built in Birmingham.
The latest designs for the three-storey, 5,700 square metre building will be on show at Faraday Wharf, Innovation Birmingham Campus tomorrow (Thursday 5 November), then at Lancaster Circus on Friday 6 November and Monday 9 November.
The local community is being encouraged to comment on the plans for the brand new building which will be located on the site of the former Birmingham Science Park off the A4540 Dartmouth Middleway and Lister Street.
A formal planning application will then be submitted to Birmingham City Council with a decision due in March 2016. Subject to the necessary approvals, construction is scheduled to start in April 2016 with the college due to open to students in September 2017.
The National College for High Speed Rail will provide specialist vocational training for future generations of engineers. It represents the next step in developing the highly skilled workforce needed to build High Speed Two (HS2), and other major rail and infrastructure projects.
In September 2014, the Government announced that the National College for High Speed Rail would be jointly located at two sites, one in Birmingham which will also house the College’s head quarters and an additional campus in Doncaster.
Birmingham City Council is providing land independently valued at £4.2m for the development, while Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) is also making a significant financial contribution to the tune of £6m.
The Birmingham team has been working in partnership with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and HS2 Ltd to develop the plans, along with Willmott Dixon as lead contractors and Bond Bryan Architects.
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is at the heart of the HS2 development. Our plans for wider regeneration and job growth through key sites such as Curzon Station, UK Central and the maintenance depot at Washwood Heath are advancing at some pace.
“The arrival of the National College for High Speed Rail will help deliver the education, skills and apprenticeships required to build run and maintain HS2. Once the college opens in Birmingham, it will be pivotal in providing the digital engineering and advanced construction skills needed by the rail sector and future infrastructure projects. I would urge young people, parents, carers and teachers to think about how they can get involved and make the most of this new College, starting with feedback on its design.”
Andrew Cleaves, Board Director at GBSLEP, said the new college would help to transform the lives of thousands of local people as part of the wider HS2 Growth Strategy plan. “With such a young population here in the region, skills development and apprenticeship opportunities leading to high-value jobs are vital. This college will help create a skills legacy for generations to come,” he commented.
Terry Morgan, Chair of the Corporate Board for the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “The National College for High Speed Rail will have a major impact on the ability of the UK rail supply industry to develop a suitable and sustainable workforce to deliver HS2 and other infrastructure projects. This essential training facility will produce the multi-skilled specialist workforce required to address the industry’s current and future skills needs.
“I would like to encourage the local community to comment on the plans for the College’s new building, on the site of the former Birmingham Science Park, before a formal planning application is submitted to Birmingham City Council.”
Daniel Locke-Wheaton, Principal of Aston University Engineering Academy, said: “The National College for High Speed Rail is a much needed and anticipated conduit for the thousands of young engineers and scientists within Birmingham to access cutting edge developments in high tech rail.
“This National College will equip the UK with the capacity to generate home grown young rail engineers, of which the UK and especially Birmingham has in excess, fulfilling the skill demand of not just HS2 but future rail projects.”
Birmingham is already home to HS2 Ltd’s construction headquarters at Two Snow Hill, with up to 1,500 jobs being created including civil, rail and site engineering and design, project management, procurement and health and safety.
The unveiling of the college designs follows an event on Tuesday (3 November) which saw 150 Birmingham school children attend a mini-engineering fair as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, highlighting careers in engineering including the rail sector. Birmingham City Council ran activities at the fair which was organised by the Institution for Civil Engineering (ICE) to change perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and teachers to inspire the next generation of engineers.
Molly McKenzie, ICE Midlands Regional Director said: “Civil engineering is an incredibly exciting profession and with a huge and growing need for more engineers over the coming years it is a great time to get involved. Engineers shape the world and events like this can help budding engineers to shape their careers.
“There are many different ways to be involved with the civil engineering profession, through apprenticeships, technical or academic routes and it is a great option for anyone who likes to find solutions to the issues in our built environment. We have a great need for engineers to design the towns and cities of the future, make sure that people can travel safely and easily by road, rail and air, drink clean water and have secure energy supplies and safe well-constructed buildings.”
- The public consultation event for the design of the National College for High Speed Rail will take place at Faraday Wharf, Innovation Birmingham Campus, Holt Street, Birmingham Science Park Aston, Birmingham, B7 4BB, from 12:00 – 14:00 on Thursday 5 November. There will then be further opportunities for the public to view the plans which will be on display in the reception area at 1 Lancaster Circus in Birmingham on Friday 6 November and Monday 9 November. Comments can be emailed before 13 November to: NCHSR-Birmingham@bondbryan.co.uk
- The National College for High Speed Rail is being developed in partnership with the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), Department for Transport, Birmingham City Council, Doncaster Council and HS2 Ltd.
- The Government gave the go-ahead for a High Speed Rail network, called High Speed Two (HS2) on 10 January 2012. HS2 will be a Y-shaped rail network providing direct, high speed rail links between London and Birmingham and on to Manchester and Leeds. HS2 will improve capacity across Britain’s rail network, shorten journey times between major cities, boost the economy and create thousands of jobs.
Claire Barker, Communications Manager, Marketing Birmingham, 0121 202 5055 / 07918 178220 / firstname.lastname@example.org