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HS2 workforce in the build phase

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In January 2013, Labour party leader Ed Miliband told the Sun newspaper that Britain’s HS2 rail project “should create 33,000 apprenticeships”. But data shared with Construction News shows that the scheme would have a monthly average total workforce of just “11,580 workers across six categories during the construction of phase one and two” (paywall). The rolling stock build would require 2,027 workers, and the ‘non construction’ office-based professional technical headcount would be 1,472.

[Charlie Schouten, 19 November, 2014, CN]

[…] An average of 4,980 construction operatives, 1,015 construction designers and 735 construction managers will be required each month, as well as non-construction, rolling stock and railway systems professionals.

The category of labour with the highest workforce on HS2 will be non-construction professional, technical, IT and other office-based staff, of which 1,055 workers will be required on average each month during the first and second phases.

During this time, the peak construction operative workforce will be 22,672.

As well as spuriously precise predictions of workforce size, the story included quotes from HS2 Ltd’s skills and employment strategy manager Scott-James Eley. He claimed that the Birmingham / Doncaster HS2 College’s student intake would “comprise UK and foreign nationals” and it would be a measure of its success “whether foreign students want to come and study there”.

What is not clear, is the amount of the HS2 construction which would be done by foreign nationals, or awarded to companies domiciled outside of Great Britain. HS1 and Crossrail were projects which mainly benefited foreign companies, and a large proportion of their labour forces was based overseas (e.g. in Kasado). The likelihood of “98% of HS2 work being awarded to UK businesses” looks fanciful in the extreme.

Another fanciful aspiration from David Higgins

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Written by beleben

November 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm

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