WMCA hosts visit from infrastructure leaders bringing HS2 to the region

The Balfour Beatty VINCI joint venture, responsible for the delivery of two High Speed 2 (HS2) main civil engineering contracts, has visited the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to see how it is upskilling local people to work on the rail project.

Balfour Beatty VINCI shared its experience of delivering social value with the WMCA and its partners, showing how the construction of high-speed rail projects across the world has benefited communities in those areas, in the long term.

During Friday’s (17 July) visit to Solihull, Balfour Beatty VINCI also saw how local people are learning new skills to help the region build its way out of the Covid-19 economic shutdown, thanks to funding from the WMCA through its Construction Gateway programme.

This included demonstrations of the new construction simulator training centre at Solihull College & University Centre – the first of its kind in the region – and hands-on civil engineering and plant training at training provider RMF Construction’s academy in Solihull.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “HS2 is Europe’s biggest infrastructure project and will be vital to our region’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At a time of such economic uncertainty, we need to use major schemes like HS2 to help secure people’s employment and create jobs for those who sadly fall out of work. The WMCA’s Construction Gateway aims to support construction projects like HS2, by offering free training and a guaranteed job interview to those who are unemployed or at the lower end of the jobs market.

“I’m very pleased that the delegation from Balfour Beatty VINCI have taken the time to come and see this fantastic work we’re funding, and I am sure we will continue to work together on future projects to help create local jobs for local people.”

Balfour Beatty VINCI also met employers who are interviewing trainees for roles available now working on HS2, and other partners who are working with the WMCA to give local residents new opportunities in construction through the project.

These include the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Flannery Plant Hire, Lynch Plant, Tenstar Simulation AB, Solihull College & University Centre, and RMF Construction.

HS2 Ltd is also currently searching for people to play a part in the delivery of Britain’s new low carbon high-speed railway. It is directly recruiting for over 300 roles, across a broad range of disciplines, to be based at its flagship head office in Birmingham and is prioritising local people in its job search.