Archive for September 2014
The home of Britain’s new National College for High Speed Rail will be located at Birmingham’s city centre Science Park, and at Lakeside Campus in Doncaster, prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne announced today (30 September 2014).
The sites were selected “following a consultation process which attracted a number of very strong proposals from across the country”. Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said that ‘HS2 College’ “demonstrates that the UK is advancing as a global leader in rail manufacturing, in line with the government’s Industrial Strategy”.
The governing board of HS2 College will be chaired by Crossrail ‘chair’ Terry Morgan and will include representatives from Birmingham and Doncaster, alongside HS2 Ltd and leading industry employers.
[‘New high speed rail college to be in Birmingham and Doncaster’, gov.uk, 30 Sep 2014]
The headquarters will be based in Birmingham and the college will also have a site in Doncaster. It will provide specialist vocational training to the next generation of engineers working on the High Speed 2 (HS2) project and beyond.
As many as 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities will be created by HS2, and there will be around 25,000 people employed during construction. HS2 will support growth in the wider economy and it is predicted that this could lead to an additional 400,000 jobs.
[…] The new college will be led by employers from the sector and will set industry standards for training based on emerging technology and the use of cutting-edge facilities, with trainers who are expert in their field. The specialist training at the college will be level 4 and over.
[…] Work will now begin on building the college sites and developing the courses which will help to train the next generation of engineers and address concerns of potential future skills shortages. In due course, the college will also develop strong links to other institutions around the country.
Before it opens in 2017, it will have identified a network of other providers who will also be part of the National College in a ‘hub and spoke’ model – which will be crucial in delivering the leading edge provision that is needed for this important sector.
The High Speed Rail College is the first specialist National College to be developed and is in line with the government’s Industrial Strategy. This will help the UK economy and businesses to compete and grow as well as secure jobs and increase skills for future generations.
If HS2 College is such a good idea, why doesn’t France have a collège TGV, or Germany a Fachoberschule ICE? And if HS2 College is supposed to meet an unmet need to train railway engineers, then what was the purpose of setting up the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE), with public money, a few years ago?
Fittingly, the announcement was made as Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne visited the ‘Birmingham New Street Gateway’ scheme during the Conservative conference. HS2 College is a political gimmick, and New Street Gateway is Network Rail botching at its finest.
In the early hours of this morning, a large fire swept through a cluster of warehouse / light industrial buildings in Reddings Lane, Tyseley, Birmingham, near the ‘new’ Yardleys school.
It could be seen and heard across a large swath(e) of south Birmingham.
About 70 fire service personnel from stations including Solihull, Bournbrook, and Handsworth, were called to the scene.
The road was sealed off by police, but residents were allowed to stay in their homes. The same site was the scene of suspected arson only last week.
At least nine major appliances were despatched, including two telescopic platforms, with one of them tackling the fire from Yardley school grounds. Because of the site’s geography, the crews seem to have had difficulty in obtaining a good hosing angle for the other platform, which was eventually set up in the school driveway.
Build HS2 so people can get to the Conservative party conference a bit quicker (when it is held in Birmingham)
Journalists attending the 2014 Conservative party conference in Birmingham (28 September to 1 October) are to be handed an ‘all you need to know about us’ pack that paints the city as vibrant and booming.
[Tory conference journalists to be given Birmingham’s ‘good news’ story, Paul Dale, The Chamberlain Files, 25 Sep 2014]
With international media camped at the ICC from this Sunday to Wednesday, council bosses are taking the opportunity to present the city as “one of the most attractive places in the world to do business.”
The pack, perhaps wisely, does not dwell on the other side of Birmingham away from the glitzy ICC and Brindleyplace – chronic unemployment, a below average skills base, and some of the worst social deprivation in the country.
On 25 September, the Birmingham Mail reported the launch of Operation Engage, a West Midlands Police crackdown on begging in the city centre “to remove the problem from the streets and help the offenders”.
[“Begging crackdown in Birmingham city centre ‘to help offenders'”, Brett Gibbons, Sep 25, 2014]
Officers in plain-clothes are carrying out dedicated patrols to identify offenders who are then referred to the Swanswell charity for help to change their lifestyle.
“We want to help people,” said PC Alex Franks. “The aim is always to provide them with the support they need, with a view to aiding them back into a perceived ‘normal’ lifestyle.
What a coincidence.
By moving intercity trains to HS2, it frees up capacity to run intercity trains on the existing line, which were removed to free up capacity
The case for HS2, in a nutshell, by Labour’s Mary Creagh.
5. Classic connection at Berkswell
At Berkswell, the government’s preferred route for HS2 would pass close to the existing Coventry to Birmingham railway, so if a connection were provided there, London HS2 trains could reach the existing New Street station in around 50 minutes. The spur into Curzon Street, and its depot at Washwood Heath, would not be required.
Beneficiaries would include Birmingham Airport and the Black Country boroughs, but it would not be popular with Berkswell residents, or Birmingham city council. Although the net environmental and economic effects would be positive, deletion of the Curzon spur would have little effect on the scheme’s impact or cost-ineffectiveness at the national level.