First UK certificate of higher education in high-speed rail now available

As the industry strives to fill the 25,000 jobs needed for the HS2 project and with a general shortage of engineers with appropriate skills for modern infrastructure projects, the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) has just launched a certificate of higher education (CHE) within high-speed rail.

With the major infrastructure projects currently underway or in the planning process, there is a unique opportunity to develop UK skills within a variety of infrastructure sectors.

The first such certificate of higher education in high-speed rail, the NCHSR curriculum, was designed in partnership with organisations in the rail industry. Such partnerships underlying the formation of the qualification is hoped to ensure that the college’s students learn transferable, real world skills that will be needed for the continued progress within UK rail. 

As the largest of five national, industry employer led colleges, the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) was created by government to utilise current and future infrastructure projects to help ensure UK based students develop world-class specialised skills.

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the NCHSR, said: Our new CHE in high-speed rail and infrastructure is a landmark moment in the development of the curriculum of the college as we put in place the foundations to ensure that British students learn the world-class skills that employers need. As an employer-led college we are working with industry to help play a major role in helping reduce the UK skills gap in engineering and produce a new generation of engineers equipped with the skills that businesses need.”

As a level 4 CHE programme, the course will be held at both the Doncaster and Birmingham NCHSR campuses as of this September. Available as a full or part time course the course will last one or two years respectively.

Within the current curriculum, the students will spend approximately a third of their time on a work placement, with an employer who will serve as a mentor. In addition to the certificate of higher education now being offered the college will continue to offer a variety of apprenticeship programmes, including high-speed rail and infrastructure technical apprenticeships, as well as operations and departmental manager apprenticeships. Those that do undertake the certificate of higher education will have the opportunity to progress to a Higher National Diploma equivalent, which the college is planning to implement within its available curriculum at a later date.  

Talking about how NCHSR is taking advantage of the current opportunities for skills development in infrastructure, Mawbray said: "The NCHSR is the gateway for young people to learn the skills they need to take up a once-in-a-generation opportunity to work on HS2 as Europe's largest and most exciting infrastructure project, as well as future phases of high speed rail and other important infrastructure projects.”

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