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Doncaster high-speed rail college opens in bid to boost skills

The Doncaster campus of the National College for High Speed Rail has officially opened its doors as part of government efforts to boost technical education facilities. 

Education secretary Justine Greening was present yesterday at the unveiling of the NCHSR campus – the largest of five new specialist colleges.

The college, which had faced the possibility of delays over funding, is part of government plans to train prospective engineers and construction workers to develop HS2 and other rail projects, as it looks to plug a potential post-Brexit skills gap.

The Doncaster facilities are joined by a second campus in Birmingham, both of which were built by Willmott Dixon as part of a £52m contract. The Birmingham site officially opens next Monday. 

Qualified students are expected to be recruited by rail operators, contractors and Network Rail. 

The government last year announced £80m of funding to create five new colleges, with institutions focused on nuclear, digital skills and onshore oil and gas also forming part of the push.

Ms Greening said the Doncaster college represented “part of how we are steadily transforming technical education in this country, training up a new generation of skilled young people and the existing workforce so that British business has the skills it needs and people have the opportunities they want – a win-win for everyone”.

Plans for high-speed rail colleges were first unveiled by the coalition government as part of its wider industrial strategy, aimed at improving the competitiveness of the UK economy. 

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