22,000 new jobs to be created as construction work on HS2 officially starts

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Construction work on the high speed transport project HS2 has formally started today with contractors expected to recruit for around 22,000 roles in the coming years.

Earlier this year, the Department for Transport gave approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed to the four Main Works Civils Contractors (MWCCs) working on the project and to commence full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway, the route from London to the West Midlands.

HS2 aims to significantly improve connectivity in the north and midlands and will also integrate the existing network serving stations into Scotland, creating hundreds of thousands of extra jobs.

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Chesterfield is expected to be served by a spur from the main HS2 route and a train maintenance depot could be located near Staveley.

Construction of the HS2 project is officially underway, with 22,000 jobs being created on the back of it.Construction of the HS2 project is officially underway, with 22,000 jobs being created on the back of it.
Construction of the HS2 project is officially underway, with 22,000 jobs being created on the back of it.

Today’s announcement signals that the MWCCs are moving from enabling works, scheme design and preparatory work, to full construction of the railway.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better – and with construction now formally underway, it’s set to create around 22,000 new jobs.

“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities.

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“But HS2’s transformational potential goes even further. By creating hundreds of apprenticeships and thousands of skilled jobs, HS2 will fire up economic growth and help to rebalance opportunity across this country for years to come.”

The move to construction also heralded a ‘jobs boom’ on the project, demonstrating the value HS2 is bringing to the economy many years before it is complete, particularly in the post-COVID economic environment.

Commenting on news that construction work officially begins today for HS2 Phase One, East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Today marks an important milestone in this huge infrastructure project that will have significant benefits for regional cities and towns, so it’s great to finally be underway with Phase One.

“Now we must push on and confirm the rest of the proposed network in full if the Government is serious about its “levelling up” agenda.

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"HS2 Phase 2b will be a game-changer for the East Midlands and we’re already excited by the opportunities it will create.

“This will include new development around the planned Toton hub station, enhanced connectivity across the region and a chance to realise the potential of key sites such as Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station, which is soon to be repurposed.

“The ‘jobs boom’ created by the construction work also comes at an important time for the economy and there will be supply chain opportunities for small businesses in the East Midlands, which can learn how to win contracts at one of the Chamber’s Fit4HS2 online workshops.”

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd said: “This is a hugely exciting moment in the progress of HS2.

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"After 10 years of development and preparatory work, today we can formally announce the start of full construction, unlocking thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across the project.

“We are already seeing the benefits that building HS2 is bringing to the UK economy in the short term, but it’s important to emphasise how transformative the railway will be for our country when operational.

"With the start of construction, the reality of high speed journeys joining up Britain’s biggest cities in the north and midlands and using that connectivity to help level up the country has just moved a step closer.”

The HS2 railway is a significant investment both in the near and longer-term economic health of the country.

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Jobs, including apprenticeships, are beginning to be released on HS2’s construction partners’ websites and will also be promoted through employment partnerships with local authorities and specialist employment support agencies.

Promoting job vacancies in this way helps HS2 to ensure that local people benefit from the thousands of opportunities available.

HS2 forecasts that the project will create at least 2,000 apprenticeships on Phase One.

The Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture (BBV JV) expects to recruit 7,000 construction jobs on the West Midlands section of the HS2 route, with women and under-25s the core focus for recruitment and skills investment.

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Michael Dyke, managing director for BBV JV, said: “HS2 presents a significant opportunity for the West Midlands, with comprehensive plans to attract and retain the talented workforce required to deliver one of the most ambitious infrastructure schemes ever delivered in the UK now underway.

“Working alongside HS2, local authorities and charities, we are committed to offering people of all ages and backgrounds across the West Midlands the chance to benefit from the wide range of employment opportunities available through the scheme, including numerous apprenticeship and graduate positions.”

An estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses will be created during Phase One of HS2, supporting thousands of jobs on site and many more around the country.

It is estimated that around 95 per cent of those contract opportunities will be won by UK based businesses and around two thirds of those will be small and medium sized businesses

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: “Today marks a major milestone in this government’s ambitions to build back better from Covid-19.

“Shovels in the ground to deliver this new railway means thousands of jobs building the future of our country’s infrastructure. This fantastic moment is what leaders across the North and Midlands have called for – action to level up our country by boosting capacity on our railways, improving connections between our regions, and spreading prosperity.”