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GBSLEP November Board meets at the new National College for High Speed Rail

With a £7.5 million Local Growth Fund contribution from GBSLEP, the National College for High Speed Rail will train the region’s next generation of UK rail workers.

GBSLEP has supported the College – which has a campus in Birmingham – with £7.5 million of funding to help train the next generation of engineering and rail specialists. Greater Birmingham and Solihull is the only area in the UK that will be home to two HS2 stations.

Martin Owen, Commercial Finance Director at the NCHSR, presented to the Board. He explained how the College has already welcomed its first intake of students, gradually rising to 1,000 students per year. Owen also highlighted that the NCHSR is the only dedicated high speed rail college in the world, and is attracting international visitors keen to learn more about how it is training its students.

Highlights discussed during the Board Meeting included news that 20 of the projects that the LEP has funded since its inception have now completed and are delivering benefits to the city-region. This includes a range of initiatives dedicated to improving skills development across Greater Birmingham and Solihull – such as the North Worcestershire Centre of Engineering Excellence, a food and drink manufacturing academy established at BMet, and West Midland Safari Park’s Skills Academy.

Other areas of discussion included the region’s key target sectors for future inward investment; funding announcements from the Autumn Budget; the potential impact of the Mary Ney review; the importance of skills and innovation to driving productivity in the region. The board also heard from Tim Pile on his first reflections as Chair.