Construction work officially begins on HS2 that will serve Sheffield and create thousands of jobs

Construction work on HS2, the high speed rail project that will run through Sheffield, has formally started today with 22,000 jobs set to be created.

Friday, 4th September 2020, 12:35 pm

As of today (Friday September 4), work has officially started on phase one of the new high-speed rail project that will eventually link up London, the Midlands and the North, serving eight of Britain's ten largest cities across the route.

This infrastructure project, which is currently the largest in Europe, will increase capacity on Britain’s railways and slash journey times for passengers.

It is estimated that the total cost of the project will now reach £106 billion after the budget for the rail project doubled from the previous estimate in 2015.

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Construction of the HS2 project is officially underway, with 22,000 jobs being created on the back of it.

Earlier this year, on 15 April, the Department for Transport gave the go-ahead for HS2 Ltd to approve the four main works contractors working on the project to begin the full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway line, which will run from London to the West Midlands.

Phase 2b of the project will connect Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to York and Leeds with Sheffield among the stations involved.

HS2 Ltd and its tier one contractors expect to recruit around 22,000 people in the coming years to build the Phase One route – offering people a path back into work after the pandemic.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better – and with construction now formally underway, it’s set to create around 22,000 new jobs.

“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities.”

Construction will begin with the largest engineering challenges - such as the stations and tunnels followed by the main viaducts and bridges.

Most of the activity this year will be focused on the city centre station sites and the major construction compounds at Old Oak Common, M25, Calvert and Streethay.

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, said: “This is a hugely exciting moment in the progress of HS2.

“After 10 years of development and preparatory work, today we can formally announce the start of full construction, unlocking thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across the project.

“We are already seeing the benefits that building HS2 is bringing to the UK economy in the short term, but it’s important to emphasise how transformative the railway will be for our country when operational.

“With the start of construction, the reality of high-speed journeys joining up Britain’s biggest cities in the north and midlands and using that connectivity to help level up the country has just moved a step closer.”

Jobs, including apprenticeships, are already beginning to be released on HS2’s construction partners’ websites and will also be promoted through employment partnerships with local authorities and specialist employment support agencies.

Promoting job vacancies in this way helps HS2 to ensure that local people benefit from the thousands of opportunities available.

HS2 says that at least 2,000 apprenticeships will be created as work commences on Phase One.

The construction partners based in Greater London, Skanska Costain STRABAG, Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA, Align JV and Mace Dragados JV, confirmed that they will collectively recruit over 10,000 new jobs as HS2 gears up for major construction.

HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, the Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture (BBV JV), along with its supply chain partners, has said it expects to be one of the biggest recruiters in the West Midlands over the next two years.

Up to 7,000 skilled jobs are required to complete its section of the HS2 route, with women and under-25s being the core focus for recruitment and skills investment.

Michael Dyke, managing director for BBV JV, said: “HS2 presents a significant opportunity for the West Midlands, with comprehensive plans to attract and retain the talented workforce required to deliver one of the most ambitious infrastructure schemes ever delivered in the UK now underway.

“Working alongside HS2, local authorities and charities, we are committed to offering people of all ages and backgrounds across the West Midlands the chance to benefit from the wide range of employment opportunities available through the scheme, including numerous apprenticeship and graduate positions.”

HS2 Ltd itself is already directly recruiting for 500 new roles over the next three months, with the majority based in Birmingham, as the project moves into the construction phase.

An estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses will be generated during Phase One of HS2, supporting thousands of jobs on-site and many more around the country.

Around 95 per cent of those contract opportunities are estimated to be won by UK based businesses, and around two-thirds of those will be small and medium-sized businesses.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: “Today marks a major milestone in this Government’s ambitions to build back better from Covid-19.

“Shovels in the ground to deliver this new railway means thousands of jobs building the future of our country’s infrastructure.

“This fantastic moment is what leaders across the North and Midlands have called for – action to level up our country by boosting capacity on our railways, improving connections between our regions, and spreading prosperity.”

The full HS2 network is estimated to be completed by 2040.