Last week’s announcement by the Prime Minister that Doncaster is to become the home of the new National High Speed Rail College is significant and important for Doncaster and the Sheffield City Region.
It’s a tremendous boost and provides a platform for economic growth in terms of jobs and skills. HS2 is an ambitious infrastructure project and a crucial part of our long-term economic plan for driving growth and prosperity. The college will train thousands of engineers who are needed to deliver billions of pounds of rail contracts over the coming decades, including HS2 high speed rail line. It’s fitting that Doncaster has been selected as it has led the way in cutting-edge rail engineering and boasts an impressive reputation and rich heritage. It now has the opportunity to build on its location on the East Coast Mainline and that same reputation will help to provide an exceptional and world- class engineering business base.
As one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe, we must not underestimate the demand for engineers and manufacturing and construction skills HS2 will present. This announcement positions our region at the centre of rail infrastructure in the UK. The successful Centre for Rail Engineering and Technical Expertise (CREATE) bid was coordinated by Doncaster Council along with private sector businesses and support from the Sheffield City Region LEP and other LEPs (Leeds, across Yorkshire and the North East). There was also support from Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, Chambers in Yorkshire, the Humber, the North East and even Cambridgeshire demonstrating a powerful endorsement by many outside the Sheffield City Region who recognised the importance of Doncaster succeeding with the bid. There is little doubt this ability to collaborate played a major role in persuading government to select Doncaster. This is worthy of praise and proof that collaboration can produce positive outcomes. Continuing teamwork will help ensure HS2 is a game-changer for our region, that impacts development and regeneration which will allow the High Speed Rail College to leverage the training opportunities available through HS2.