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HS2 contractor to deliver new skills to local people

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Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) has teamed up with a college in the West Midlands, establishing a training academy to ready the local workforce for HS2.

The Balfour Beatty Vinci Skills Academy, based within South and City College’s Bordesley Green campus, is a new partnership venture between the college and HS2’s construction partner for the region.

Now open, the Academy will deliver new skills to local people – including those who are out of work or looking for a career change. It will give them the entry-level skills they need to secure a broad range of jobs on the West Midlands section of Britain’s new railway.

Where it is believed there are skills shortages, HS2, its construction partners and stakeholders including local authorities, training delivery organisations and Local Enterprise Partnerships, work together to invest and remedy the situation. The Balfour Beatty Vinci Skills Academy is a product of that investment.

The Skills Academy, the first in the region dedicated to providing training in readiness for jobs on HS2, will therefore play an important role in helping to plug the local skills gap.

In its recent report Building the Skills to Deliver HS2 – Phase One and 2a, HS2 Ltd forecast that the extensive rail project will support over 34,000 jobs at peak construction, including over 2,000 new apprentice starts.

It is estimated that, in the West Midlands, the construction of HS2 will generate a constant labour demand of around 10,000 jobs from now until 2027/28. The findings of HS2’s latest report carefully examine the type of jobs it expects will be needed and measures this against local labour availability.

Rebecca Young, HS2.

HS2 skills and employment strategy manager Rebecca Young said: “HS2 is creating thousands of training and employment opportunities for people right across the region now and into the next decade.

“The Skills Academy will help to ensure that HS2 leaves a lasting skills legacy, and that local people are given every opportunity to be part of this once in a lifetime project that is already transforming the region and supporting its economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Shilpi Akbar, BBV.

Shilpi Akbar, head of stakeholders and communities at Balfour Beatty Vinci, said: “As our work continues to progress at pace, providing opportunities for people across the region remains a priority. We want everyone – particularly those who are currently unemployed – to benefit from the plethora of jobs set to be made available through the construction of HS2.

“Through our innovative partnership with South and City College, local people will be able to develop and hone the skills required to work on Britain’s new railway; skills that will ensure they thrive in their future careers in the construction and infrastructure industry.”

The Skills Academy will offer hands-on training, matched with classroom-based learning. Students will build and develop new skills, while securing nationally recognised accreditations that will prepare them for jobs on HS2.

The Academy will host drop-in sessions, supported by the National Careers Service and the Department for Work and Pensions, so people can find out more about the training courses available and how they link to HS2 jobs in the local area.  The Academy is open to everyone, not just those attending South and City College Birmingham.

Training programmes will vary in length, according to the job roles they align to, but are tailored to meet each individual’s requirements, regardless of whether or not they have previous work experience.

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