Business leaders have backed a new campaign aiming to bring the new HS2 rail training academy to Doncaster, creating jobs and growth across Doncaster, the Sheffield City Region and further afield.
The borough has been put forward by the Sheffield City Region to be the location for this new college given its strong railway heritage and unique cluster of rail engineering companies in the UK.
Peter Dale, Director of Regeneration and Environment, said:
“I am delighted that partners across the city region have backed our ambition to have this HS2 rail training academy in Doncaster.
“Our town is world renowned for its railway history and has impressive industry credentials to support the bid for the HS2 rail college.
>“The town, famed for such locomotives as the legendary Mallard and Flying Scotsman, is seen by businesses as an attractive place to hone people’s skills for a career in the rail industry.”
In Doncaster 3,000 people are employed directly in national and international rail companies, including companies from the USA, France and Germany. There are 15 major rail companies with operations in Doncaster – including Wabtec Rail, Volker Rail and Unipart Rail with a further 197 engineering companies based within the area.
In promoting the HS2 bid, a partnership between local businesses and council is being formed to both support bid and the development of the rail sector within the town.
The decision is due early June 2014.
James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said:
“The LEP Board fully backs this proposal to bring the new HS2 College to the Sheffield City Region.
“We hope that the collective confidence shown by local leaders from across the private and public sectors to bring the main hub to Doncaster will help Government to make the right choice.
“The LEP is committed to maximising the benefits of HS2 and this proposal complements our Strategic Economic Plan which aims to bring a rail engineering training academy to the City Region.
“The Sheffield City Region has all the elements needed to make the flagship HS2 college a success, including a reputation and heritage in rail engineering, an exceptional engineering business base and world-class further and higher education providers.”
Phil Harris, CEO of Doncaster Chamber, said on behalf of Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley & Rotherham Chambers:
“A rail college could be another game changer for the borough, consequently the bid has the chamber’s full support.
“Over the coming years there will be significant demand for workers in the rail sector but, at present, it does not look like UK companies will be able to meet that demand with UK labour unless more is down to increase the flow of people – including youngsters – into the industry.
“The college will provide an opportunity to square that circle and, additionally, to create jobs for Doncaster people and support the growth of local firms in the sector.”