Sheffield City Region Combined Authority is backing Doncaster to become the home of the coveted National College for High Speed Rail.
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock announced today (13 June 2014) that Doncaster has been shortlisted along with Birmingham, Derby and Manchester in the race to become the home of the National College for High Speed Rail. The new college, expected to be on 'hub' and a number of 'spokes' based across the country, will provide training to the next generation of highly-skilled engineers working on the HS2 project and beyond.
And the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee believes that Doncaster offers the perfect location for the new world-class training college.
Doncaster Council is proposing a five-acre site at Lakeside, on Carolina Way, as the site of the new college. The greenfield site, close to the town centre, the motorway network and Robin Hood Airport, already has planning permission in place and is in the vicinity of a number of major rail and engineering employers, including DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Unipart.
Manufacturing giant Hitachi has also recently announced plans to build a £70 million maintenance deport close by in a move that will create 160 jobs.
If successful the High Speed Rail College would be a research and teaching centre focusing on developing world-class engineering skills and would generate about £150 million for the town and the wider city region economy and create up to 2,000 apprentices during the lifetime of construction. The college will be open by 2017, when construction of HS2 is due to begin.
The Doncaster college bid has been submitted by the private sector-led Centre for Rail and Technical Excellence CREATE and is also backed by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and business leaders across the region.
Representatives from Doncaster will join those from Birmingham, Derby, and Manchester to give presentations to an Advisory Group on Friday 27 June in order for a final decision to be made in July. The group will consist of Terry Morgan, officials from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport as well officials from HS2 Limited.
The DfT has said that bids were assessed against a range of criteria including the size and availability of a suitable site, accessibility, and the potential to develop strong links with employers and providers already operating in the sector.
The High Speed Rail College is the first specialist National College to be developed and plans are in place to create more including in nuclear, coding and energy, in the coming years.
The National College for High Speed Rail forms part of the Government's work with HS2 Ltd to ensure the new north-south railway delivers a tangible skills legacy that will serve the UK for the next century and continue the proud tradition the UK has for worldwide demand for its engineering expertise. It also accompanies the work of the Growth Taskforce, which is an independent group of experts spanning public and private sectors and academia. They will advise government on actions to maximise the benefits of HS2 to regions across the UK.