Firms urged to act now to fill spaces on pioneering rail training scheme

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail and Nissar Mohammed, project director at Fusion.

The National College for High Speed Rail is calling on businesses to act fast to sign up their talented workers to the remaining spaces of its pioneering higher apprenticeship scheme which opens in September. 

Due to interest from potential apprentices who are keen to start immediately, the college is also working with businesses to identify and assess candidates for apprenticeship vacancies within their organisation.

With work on the first phase of HS2 set to get underway in a matter of months the college is experiencing growing interest in its first cohort of apprentices who represent the human face of Europe’s largest infrastructure project, and will be the first recipients of the skills mandate from the largest investment in Britain’s railways since the Victorian age.

Among the businesses to have committed to send its apprentices to the college is the Fusion joint venture, a partnership between Morgan Sindall, BAM and Ferrovial. The joint venture has a successful track record of delivering large infrastructure projects, having previously collaborated on projects such as Crossrail and Thames Tideway Tunnel.  

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “As a ground-breaking institution, we want businesses to send us their brightest and best to help us create a workforce ready for the 21st century.

“Our first intake of apprentices are going to be the pioneers of high-speed rail in the UK. These apprentices will be ambassadors for Europe’s largest infrastructure project and testament to the bright future for the rail industry in Britain. We have heard that some businesses believe we are oversubscribed but we want to reassure the industry that there are still places available. However, businesses need to act to soon to register their apprentices for 2017.  

“We’re also keen to hear from businesses with apprenticeship vacancies so we can support them to advertise their vacancies, and potentially match them with the talent pool who have applied direct to the college.  We’re also able to offer our Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Operations and Departmental Management.  This qualification is CMI accredited, and will develop managers and leaders of the future, right at the point where this skills set is most needed”

Nissar Mohammed, project director at Fusion, said: “To be one of the first organisations to sign up our apprentices is yet another milestone in Fusion’s high speed rail journey. The college’s ambition, to provide highly skilled people and close the skills gap through our supply chain will be a lifeline for the industry. Particularly if the UK is to remain competitive in a global high speed rail market. 

“It is up to infrastructure businesses like ourselves and the supply chain to work with the college to develop the next generation of rail engineers, the first alumni, trained by the industry for the industry through the college.”

The National College for High Speed Rail, which opens in four months’ time, is the largest of five new employer-led colleges that are being created to ensure British people learn world-class skills. Apprentices at the college will receive industry-leading training giving them knowledge of the latest skills and techniques in high speed rail. However, the college does not only focus on training for high speed rail but will also provide transferable skills for those working on modernising Britain’s existing railways.

To find out more about the apprenticeships and courses on offer at the college visit

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