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Jobs, training as HS2 gears up

HS2 construction work, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. Photo Simon Vayro/shutterstock.com

The building of HS2 is finally moving from preparatory work to full-scale construction works, bringing around 22,000 skilled jobs along with over 2,000 high-quality apprenticeships. It will also support the creation of many other jobs, and will play a key part in supporting Britain’s post-Covid-19 recovery.

Britain will eventually have a 21st-century railway that connects its key cities. And by transferring inter-city fast trains off the existing railway, much-needed extra capacity will be liberated for commuter services, and for many more freight trains.

At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive contraction in the economy and large scale redundancies, this is a welcome development that begins the process of building a better future, especially for Britain’s young people.

HS2 itself is recruiting 500 new staff. The first phase of HS2 construction from London to the West Midlands will see 7,000 new construction jobs with main works contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI. The contractor has stated that it will focus on recruiting young people under 25. A separate contract to build the new HS2 terminal in London at Euston will need another 3,000 workers.

HS2 estimates that there will be 400,000 supply chain contracts providing opportunities for British businesses in the first phase alone.

Trade unions welcomed this major milestone. General union GMB’s National Secretary, Jude Brimble, said, “The UK urgently needs to deliver investment in infrastructure, and the start of main works is a critical step in the construction of HS2.”

• A longer version of this article is on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk.