Milton Keynes misses out on shortlist place for new HS2 college


Milton Keynes has missed out on the opportunity to become the home of the National College for High Speed Rail.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock the four locations across the country which have been shortlisted today.

The new College ‘hub’ and a number of ‘spokes’ based across the country will provide training to the next generation of engineers working on the HS2 project and beyond.

The areas shortlisted for further development are Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester.

“I was extremely encouraged by the level of interest that has been shown by areas across the country in being part of meeting the high speed rail skills challenge,” said Mr Hancock.

“We received a number of very strong proposals, and not all can be taken forward to the final stage.

“However, it is clear that there is already some excellent partnership activity taking place between education providers and the rail industry across the country which is resulting in the delivery of some outstanding provision.

“For the college to be a success, it will need to bring together this expertise so we can achieve high quality skills provision in this important sector.

“We hope that all those locations that responded to the consultation will develop strong links with the main college site, so that as many learners as possible have access to the opportunities that HS2 and other rail engineering projects will create.”

Local parliamentary candidate Andrew Pakes said: “I am deeply disappointed that the MK bid failed to make it onto the shortlist for the new High Speed 2 engineering college.

“We have an amazing wealth of rail heritage and skills in the borough. We need to learn lessons from other cities about how we bring together better coalitions to fight for the resources we need.

“Derby for instance galvanised its business, council and civic groups around their bid.

“There are bright days ahead for Milton Keynes with all our potential and natural assets, but this is a missed opportunity for the city.”

Representatives from Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester have been invited 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.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “HS2 is a vital part of our long-term economic plan, providing and safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs.

“The new College will equip the engineers of the future with the skills they need to secure these jobs and similar ones in the UK and across the globe.

“This new national college will operate with a ‘hub and spoke’ model, so there is huge potential for towns and cities across the country to benefit from the opportunities it will bring.”

To ensure the success of the college, BIS has appointed Terry Morgan to advise on its development. Terry Morgan is the chairman of Crossrail, chair of the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering and was previously chief executive of Tube Lines and group managing director for BAE Systems.

His first task was to oversee the selection of the shortlist and he will be involved in final phase of the selection process.

“Engineering skills are vital to the rail industry,” Terry Morgan said.

“I am hugely excited to be given the opportunity to help shape the design and development of the new college.

“We need to ensure that the college can deliver the top class training and qualifications needed, both for high speed rail and other future infrastructure projects across the country.

“I came from a vocational background, and I think the high speed rail college is a fantastic opportunity to inspire a new generation of motivated young people to follow this pathway”.

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 development of the National College for High Speed Rail is in line with the government’s Industrial Strategy with the aim to help the UK economy and businesses to compete and grow as well as secure jobs and increase skills for future generations.