T Level students jump straight into jobs on HS2

T Level students jump straight into jobs on HS2.

Six Walsall College students are celebrating new jobs working on HS2 while becoming some of the first students to receive T Level results.

The students are among the first in the country to pass their Construction - Design, Surveying and Planning T Level.

Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV), HS2’s construction partner for the West Midlands, formed a partnership with Walsall College in 2020 when T Levels were first introduced. 

The collaboration enabled 16 students to secure a 45-day industry placement, working on HS2, that would account for 20% of their overall grade. 

All 16 students passed both the placement and theory elements of their course, allowing them to progress to the next stage in their career.

After securing the grades they needed, six students will progress straight into an apprenticeship role with BBV. 

They will spend the next five years advancing their studies while earning a wage supporting the construction of Britain’s new railway. 

Further interviews are being held over the next two weeks, and BBV hopes even more of the talented youngsters will transition into jobs that will help bring HS2 to the region. 

Julie Venn-Morton, HS2’s skills manager for the West Midlands said: “Our partnership with Walsall College is playing a vital role in helping us to plug the UK’s skills gap and create the talented workforce we need to deliver Europe’s biggest engineering project.

“We’re delighted that every student passed their industry placement and that at least six of those who took part will transition straight into full-time jobs. HS2 is a once in a lifetime project and a fantastic place for these young people to begin building a promising career.”

Shilpi Akbar, head of stakeholders and communities at Balfour Beatty VINCI, added: “We’re looking forward to welcoming six new apprentices from Walsall College in the coming weeks, who’ll bring new ideas and fresh ways of working with them.

“Each apprentice will take up roles across the business which will be absolutely critical in delivering HS2. This is just the start of a fantastic partnership with the college, which will provide further employment opportunities and development for students in the region.”

Among those to have secured a degree-level apprenticeship with BBV is 18-year-old Leah Hickman from Cannock who has secured a degree-level chartered surveyor apprenticeship. Leah’s new role will see her work alongside the team building the Delta Junction – one of the most complex pieces of infrastructure on the HS2 route.

She said: “The industry placement has been invaluable. The blend of studying at college and gaining work-based experience on a project like HS2 is definitely the best way to learn. I’m only 18, and already have two years’ experience on my CV, which will really help me to stand out. I’m really looking forward to meeting the team I’ll be working with and starting my new career as a quantity surveyor."

Eighteen-year-old Jake Flood from Walsall will start his new role as a civil engineering degree apprentice. He will be joining BBV’s tunnelling team and can't wait to get started. He said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity and I'm so grateful to BBV for investing in me. I’m so excited to be starting my new career on HS2. Finding out that I got the highest possible grade - a distinction - and that I'm joining the tunnelling team is just amazing."

BBV is set to continue its partnership with Walsall College. It will offer 16 more students the opportunity to complete their industry placement on HS2 when the new T Level Construction course begins in September.

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