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NCATI Principal Ian Fitzpatrick with University of Birmingham Provost Professor Tim Jones
Ian Fitzpatrick, Principal of NCATI, with Professor Tim Jones, Provost of the University of Birmingham.

The University of Birmingham is launching the new National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (NCATI) in a collaboration between higher and further education.

As part of the University group, the new NCATI will produce a new generation of highly skilled professionals to lead Britain’s future rail, transport and infrastructure workforce. NCATI will draw on the University’s internationally-recognised rail expertise and, with strong industry and a wide range of partners, will help address the sector’s skills gaps in the Midlands and the North.

Our collaboration with NCATI is a unique project, which the University of Birmingham is particularly well-placed to deliver. We’re looking forward to securing a bright new future for learners, industry partners and local communities, using our internationally-recognised expertise in railway education to deliver the next generation of skilled workers into the sector.

Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal at the University of Birmingham

The launch is the culmination of a rigorous process where the University worked with the Department for Education to secure a successful, sustainable and inclusive future for the College.

A new Principal, Ian Fitzpatrick, has been appointed to lead the College in its mission to be world-class in the provision of national education outcomes in the rail, transport and infrastructure sectors.

Ian said: “I’m extremely proud to be joining NCATI and to have the opportunity to work with a great team on its next phase. I am looking forward to continuing to build the reputation of the College so that it is the focal point for skills development in the sector; as well as creating and delivering an innovative high-quality provision that is ambitious and inclusive. I'm excited to start supporting our learners to reach their full potential and fulfilling the needs of employers and stakeholders.”

At state-of-the-art campuses in Birmingham and Doncaster, the new NCATI will provide high-quality education and training with a distinctive local offering that specialises in Railway and Transportation Engineering.  In addition, a hub and spoke model will see NCATI collaborating with education partners around the UK, ensuring it fully plays its role as a National College.

Apprenticeships will be a fundamental part of the NCATI curriculum moving forward. Following a thorough application process, the new NCATI has been accepted onto the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers and is now preparing for new apprentices to join the College in the coming months.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said: “It is fantastic to have agreed a new partnership between the University of Birmingham and the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure.

"This partnership protects opportunities for apprentices, tackles skills gaps across the region and initiates an exciting collaboration between Further Education and Higher Education, delivering high level technical skills in an important sector of the UK economy.

“As we continue to rebuild and reopen, I look forward to seeing students being welcomed to the college’s state-of-the-art campuses in Birmingham and Doncaster, and wish them all the best on their future studies and training.”

By developing impactful collaborations with education providers, employers and industry bodies, NCATI will also become established as an integral part of the Government’s transport, infrastructure and broader industrial strategy.

The need for a highly skilled workforce to deliver the Government’s ambitious programme of transport infrastructure investment was highlighted in its most recent Transport Infrastructure and Skills Strategy. The strategy emphasises the importance of high quality training in the sector to support its levelling up agenda and post-covid recovery, as well as an ambitious programme of transport infrastructure investment.

Professor Clive Roberts, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham, said: “NCATI offers us the opportunity to support our existing and new partners across the rail, broader transportation and infrastructure sectors. The provision of high quality vocational education is critical to ensuring that the current and future workforce has the right skills to deliver the pipeline of existing projects. The national reach of the College allows individuals and companies in all parts of the country to benefit from the courses on offer.”

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “The new National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure will provide valuable training, new skills and real opportunities for people entering the sector for the first time, as well as those seeking to retrain.

“We will continue to work closely with the College as it strives to attract a diverse range of talent to the transport sector.”

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chair of Network Rail, said: “We very much welcome the collaboration between the new NCATI and the University of Birmingham and look forward to supporting the college as it develops the next generation of skilled workers.”

Kate Myers, Head of Skills, Employment and Education at HS2 Ltd said: "The new National College will play a crucial role in upskilling students for the breadth of careers that HS2 and other major infrastructure and rail engineering projects are creating. With construction well underway on HS2 between London and Birmingham, and approval to extend the line north to Crewe, the number of opportunities for skilled individuals is increasing daily. We look forward to working collaboratively with NCATI to ensure HS2 fulfils its aim of leaving a lasting legacy in skills and engineering in the UK."