The National College for High-Speed Rail (NCHSR) has established a partnership with Alstom’s Academy for Rail in Widnes.
The agreement will see NCHSR lead on the provision of learner education and technical training at the facility, which opened in June 2017 as part of the country’s largest rail modernisation facility.
However, Alstom and its affiliates will continue to own and manage the academy, providing a current and future supply of apprentices for training through the new partnership.
Initially it will continue to support the 18 Alstom apprentices who are currently working on site and prepare for a new programme to upskill up to 13 current Level 3 apprentices to Level 4 from the autumn.
Existing apprentices will continue to work for Alstom but the academy staff will be transferred to NCHSR and remain at Widnes.
Plans to train up to 500 apprentices at the Rail Academy in the next five years remain unchanged.
The agreement gives NCHSR access to a supply of apprentices from Alstom and its supply chain. as well as dedicated training facilities and equipment in the North West of England.
NCHSR commercial director Martin Owen said that it also marks the first phase of the “hub and spoke” model that was outlined in the college’s original plans.
He added: “It means our unique training offer can now be brought to the North West of England, positioning our services as a training delivery partner across three regions that will be critical to the success of HS2.
“The partnership also broadens our offer across the North, ensuring the college is well placed to develop the skills that will be needed in the workforce for other major rail infrastructure projects in the North, such as plans to improve east-west connectivity through Northern Powerhouse Rail.”