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Crewe bids to become home to the Government's new HS2 Rail College

Crewe bids to become home to the Government's new HS2 Rail College

By The Sentinel  |  Posted: March 26, 2014

Crewe

By KATHIE MCINNES

Crewe bids to become home to the Government's new HS2 Rail College

Crewe is bidding to become the national centre for training thousands of engineers who will help build the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail line.

CREWE is bidding to become the national centre for training thousands of engineers who will help build the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail line.

The ambitious plans were unveiled today by Manchester Metropolitan University, which has already earmarked land at its Crewe campus for the HS2 Rail College.

If it wins Government backing, the first students could be arriving in 2017, ready to fill the huge demand for jobs linked to constructing the tracks, signalling systems and trains.

University officials say it would reinvent the historic railway town as Britain's centre for the future of rail engineering, with knock-on benefits for local firms in the supply chain.

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South Cheshire College and Reaseheath College, near Nantwich, are also partners in the bid and would deliver some of the training at their campuses.

It comes as Crewe is in the front line to get an HS2 hub, despite political leaders in Stoke-on-Trent calling for an alternative station in the Potteries.

Dennis Dunn, dean of MMU Cheshire, stressed the rail college plans were not dependent on securing an HS2 stop. But he believes it strengthens their case and makes the town an ideal location for the elite new college.

He said: "This just screams Crewe. It's not only because of the history and legacy of rail and engineering excellence in this area, but because Crewe could be a hub for HS2.

"The students would be recruited from across the country. But it would also provide opportunities for people from this area. It's going to be very exciting."

The college could help to train an estimated 2,000 engineering apprentices and also offer degrees in engineering-related specialisms. MMU could develop engineering research projects as well.

Details of how many much money could be coming to Crewe if it is chosen as the preferred site are not yet known.

It would involve knocking down several old student halls of residence on the Crewe Green Road campus, with MMU's students using other accommodation blocks nearby.

There would be a new single-storey building, with specialist workshops, classrooms and a lecture theatre.

MMU already has experience of educating students for the rail industry as it has a partnership with Virgin Trains, which has a training academy in Crewe.

And with at least 30 firms in South Cheshire involved in rail engineering, including Siemens and Bombardier, it has a ready supply of companies that could offer support. The bid is also being backed by Cheshire East Council, South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, and the county's local enterprise partnership.

A decision is expected on the preferred site this summer. As well as the rail college headquarters, there could be several satellite training sites.

Reaseheath's principal, Meredydd David, said he was 'delighted' to be involved in the plans, which could bring 'fantastic investment' to Crewe.

He added: "A wide range of skills training will be necessary to meet the requirements of HS2, including construction, plant engineering, environmental management and arboriculture."



Read more: http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Crewe-bids-home-Government-s-new-HS2-Rail-College/story-20851259-detail/story.html#ixzz2x41PuZS7

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