The High Speed Rail College which would generate about £150million for the Doncaster and Sheffield City Region economy is one step closer after the Government announced today that Doncaster had made the national shortlist of four.
In an online article published on the ‘Business Doncaster’ website (http://www.businessdoncaster.com) Sheffield University Management School’s Dr Tim Vorley expresses the university’s support of the project and the positive impact the college would have on the Doncaster and Sheffield City Region economy.
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Doncaster is up against Birmingham, Derby and Manchester to land the college which will help the town’s expanding rail and engineering sector to flourish.
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones, said: “I am delighted we have made it to the final stage of the process and we will be pulling out all the stops to bring this college to Doncaster for the benefit of businesses and people in the town, the Sheffield City Region, Yorkshire and the north-east of England. This is a major achievement and testament to the partnership approach we have taken to get us into the top four.
“We are a rail town with a rich history of leading the way in rail and engineering. Cutting edge locomotives like Flying Scotsman and Mallard were designed, built and maintained right here in Doncaster and this engineering prowess continues today with over 10,000 people employed in the sector.
“Having the college in Doncaster will have a transformational impact on growing the sector. It will help our businesses expand, offer people world class training, deliver quality jobs and drive economic growth in Doncaster and across the Sheffield City Region.”
“By choosing Doncaster, the Government will spread the benefit of HS2 to other parts of the country and help rebalance the national economy. We want to bring rail home,” concluded Mayor Jones.
The project will be carried out in partnership with the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development at Sheffield University Management School, the MERail Railway Research Group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the AMRC Training Centre.
Dr Tim Vorley, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, at Sheffield University Management School, said: “The new college will reaffirm the Sheffield City Region as a hub for world class engineering. The University of Sheffield is extremely proud to partner Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council in helping to produce highly skilled world leading engineers who will create this pioneering rail project.”
The private sector led Centre for Rail And Technical Excellence (CREATE), coordinated by Doncaster Council and supported by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, business leaders and partners including local authorities across the region submitted the bid last month.
Commenting on the news Wabtec Group Managing Director, Chris Weatherall, said: “Wabtec Rail is delighted that Doncaster’s submission to host the High Speed Rail College has been selected to go through to the next round. The establishment of the College in Doncaster would be an acknowledgement of the town’s continuing role as one of the UK’s leading centres of railway engineering. From Wabtec’s business perspective it is important that to support the continuing growth in railway engineering there is a centre for the training of future engineers and Doncaster is the ideal location for this.”
Just last week, Wabtec announced they had taken on their 1000th employee.
Simon Carr, LEP Board Member and Managing Director at Henry Boot Construction, said: “This is excellent news for Doncaster and will make the Sheffield City Region a worldwide hub for rail engineering training. As one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Europe, the scale of demand for engineering skills from HS2 will be unprecedented. With its reputation as a rail town, location on the East Coast Mainline and existing rail business base, Doncaster is clearly in a very strong position to win this competition. The new college will have clear benefits for businesses across the Sheffield City Region who will be looking to win contracts and recruit skilled staff as the £42.6 billion project gets underway.”
Professor Philip Jones, LEP Board Member and Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “It is great news that Doncaster has been shortlisted as one of the final bids for the new national High Speed Rail College. The new college will grow the Sheffield City Region’s strength in engineering skills through its universities and colleges, and will build on specialised courses such as the Network Rail Foundation Degree at Sheffield Hallam University. As the HS2 project progresses, demand for highly qualified engineers will become greater and greater and we look forward to working alongside the new college to train the highly skilled engineers this huge project will need.”
A final decision will be made by an advisory group in July following presentations by the bidders. The group will consist of representatives from Crossrail, HS2 Limited, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport.
The research and teaching centre would be built on a 5.1 acre site at Doncaster’s Lakeside. The site already has outline planning permission and is walking distance to household names in the rail and engineering industry including DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Unipart. The campus would also be close to the town centre, motorway network and Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield.
People can back Doncaster’s bid at: www.businessdoncaster.com and keep updated with the latest news on Twitter: #railtown