Businesses throw weight behind rail college bid

Rachel Goddard, chairwoman of York Professionals, Katie Stewart, head of economic development at City of York Council, Coun James Alexander, leader of the council, and Susie Cawood, of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Rachel Goddard, chairwoman of York Professionals, Katie Stewart, head of economic development at City of York Council, Coun James Alexander, leader of the council, and Susie Cawood, of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

First published in Business news York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Business editor

BUSINESS leaders in York are adding their support to a campaign aimed at bringing a new rail college for up to 2,000 apprentices to the city.

On Track for York was launched by The Press to back an official bid to bring the proposed college for the high-speed rail project to York.

The campaign has already welcomed on board every secondary school in the city, with headteachers heralding the HS2 college as a “once in a generation” opportunity for school leavers. Business groups across a variety of sectors in the city have now added their support, with a call being made to all York business to give their backing.

Susie Cawood, head of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “York has weathered the recession better than many other places and has embraced development and growth while adapting its economy.

“York is a railway city and bringing the HS2 training college for rail engineers to the city would be an superb fit.

“York needs to continue to build on its successes and attract investment and the Chamber fully supports this excellent campaign.”

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is consulting on the college location, inviting bids by April 30.

The York bid is being submitted as part of an application by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

Within that application City of York Council, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum will outline the case for York to host the college at the York Central site. Business leaders are now backing the On Track for York campaign in recognition of the economic benefits a college for 2,000 apprentices will bring to the city.

Adam Sinclair, chairman of City Team York, said: “Anything that anchors the rail industry and its associated skills employment and future in the City of York has my unqualified backing and that of City Team York.

“It will also deliver focus and inspiration to thousands of young people in the coming years.”

Rachel Goddard, chairwoman of York Professionals added:“An ‘HS2 training college’ in York is a superb idea and would have the full support of York Professionals.

“York already has an excellent reputation for education and is well connected to the railway network, so locating the HS2 training college here makes total sense.

“It would be great for city as by providing more opportunities for training our school leavers and graduates, it encourages our ‘talent pool’ to remain in the city, attracts inward investment and helps to sustain economic growth and job opportunities for the future.”

The campaign is also being supported by Mike Everitt, of Business Support York and North Yorkshire. He said: “BSYNY supports any initiative that brings enhanced benefits of employment in the area and also those that enable businesses to communicate and trade effectively. A rail college would provide positive opportunities and maintain York as a key hub for business & development.”

To add the support of your business to On Track for York email business editor laura.knowlson@thepress.co.uk detailing the name of your business, the sector in which you operate and what you do, how many employees you have, and a brief explanation of why you are supporting the campaign.

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