A campaign to address the skills gap in UK engineering and the rail sector is getting underway this week, with an aim to boost sign ups to a brand new employer-led college under development in Doncaster and Birmingham.
With the UK needing at least 182,000 people with engineering skills each year until 2022, The National College for High Speed Rail is preparing to play a central role in addressing the nationwide shortage when it opens its two campuses on Dartmouth Middleway in Birmingham, and on Carolina Way in Doncaster this September.
The National College of High Speed Rail is the largest of five national employer-led colleges being created by the Government to help British students develop world-class skills. In September 2017, a cohort of apprentices already working within the rail industry will be commencing study. After being inundated with expressions of interest, potential students are being invited to turn their interest into an actual application to start in September 2018.
The opportunities at the new college are being promoted this month on social media using the hashtag, #doorsareopening
The college is offering higher apprenticeships, HNC (Higher National Certificate) and CPD (Continued Professional Development) courses, all of which will be developed with industry employers and taught by specialists in the subject.
Promotions will be appearing across social media and digital networks this month on platforms including Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify. Local newspapers and radio stations including Trax FM, Hallam FM and Free Radio FM are also on board to support the campaign. Bus and bus stop adverts are all set to appear throughout Birmingham and Doncaster over the course of the month.
Residents and businesses across both the city and town are encouraged to engage with the campaign and support the new college using the hashtag #doorsareopening
Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “As we prepare to welcome our first intake of students later this year, we’re keen to send out the message that the future of UK engineering and the rail industry will be quite different to how people may currently perceive this sector. With plans firmly underway to develop Britain’s high speed network, careers in rail are going to be increasingly exciting, dynamic and highly skilled, with opportunities across both the traditional and new, digital realms of engineering.
“Our doors are opening for future generations to transform Britain’s existing network and we’re especially grateful for the support we have received from employers so far. With this industry support, our training provision is backed by a significant degree of stability in terms of future career prospects for our learners. Clearly there is a need to plug the skills gap in engineering and the National College of High Speed Rail is looking to do exactly that. We hope that our initial promotional campaign reaches not only those with a current interest in the sector, but those who might not yet have considered rail and engineering as a viable option.”
Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "The National College for High Speed Rail further cements Birmingham's position at the very heart of HS2 and the first intake of students will at the forefront of an exciting new era for UK engineering.
"We have a young population in Greater Birmingham and this project harnesses our huge potential, developing skills, generating apprenticeships and creating high-value jobs.
"The college, which represents a major commitment from both Birmingham City Council and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, will boost our regional economy and build on Birmingham's growing reputation as a place to succeed."
Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said: “We are right behind the college’s #doorsareopening campaign which will encourage businesses, residents and young people to get involved and find out more about what the college has to offer.
“This fantastic new college will provide apprenticeships, Higher National Certificate and Continued Professional Development courses, which will all be developed by companies in this exciting industry. Doncaster residents have a wonderful opportunity to get the skills they need to build a highly rewarding and well paid job in a sector which is moving forward at pace.”