Four locations across the country have been shortlisted to become the home of the National College for High Speed Rail, Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock announced today (Friday 13 June). 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. The quality of responses was very high overall with strong bids from many locations.  All 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 Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education is an important partner in the Birmingham bid to develop a new and elite High Speed College. The bid by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) in partnership with Birmingham City and the LEP’s three universities and the nine FE colleges involved in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull consortium is supported by a network of almost 60 businesses involved in rail and construction. 

Professor Jon Binner, Deputy Head of College said:

We are all thrilled that we have got through to the last four in the competition. We all felt that our bid was very strong, particularly since it harnesses the unique resource available in the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education, which is Europe’s largest centre and is pioneering innovative approaches to further advance the high-speed rail industry globally.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

“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. 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.”

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.”

Image caption: MP visit to the Centre for Railway Research and Education in April 2014 for briefing on High Speed College bid proposals