Meeting to gather support for rail college

York Press: On track campaign On track campaign

THE next stage in the bid to bring the HS2 Rail College to York is being staged with a call to businesses to unite for the city's rail industry.

Businesses and skills providers are being invited to an event on Tuesday 22 to find out how they can support the industry, and in particular get involved in the bid to bring the proposed college, and its 2,000 apprentices to York.

Business leaders in York have already backed The Press's On Track for York campaign, launched to raise the profile of the bid.

The event at the National Railway Museum is being staged by a group of business leaders made up of Jo North, managing Big Bang Partnership, Stirling Kimkeran, chief executive of Omnicom Engineering, Ian Brown, managing director of Trapeze Group, David Bolt, professional head of Building Services at Tata Steel Projects, Paul Kirkman, director at the National Railway Museum and Andy Nelson, managing director of Henry Williams, and is supported by City of York Council.

Together they said: "From more than180 years of pioneering rail innovation, Yorkshire and the North East is still home to over 14 per cent of the UK’s rail industry, many significant rail businesses and forward-thinking SMEs.

"This industry is extremely well geographically connected: within an hour’s journey from where the East Coast and Transpennine routes meet in York there are more than 9,000 rail employees, more than 50 leading businesses and 12 leading skills providers with a focus on rail or engineering.

"This has already been recognised by UK Trade and Investment as an area with several major rail hubs, and we believe there is benefit from discussing how these synergies can be further harnessed for mutual benefit.

"One specific element of this is around skills, and in relation to this we are putting forward a bid for the new national training college for high speed rail to be located in the region."

They are proposing that the college would run on a "hub and spoke" basis with a hub at the York Central site, a Network Rail owned site next to York’s railway station, but with spokes into providers up and down the East Coast Mainline and across into West Yorkshire.

The Department for BIS is currently consulting on the college location, inviting bids by the end of the month.

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.

Tuesday's event will feature presentations from Stephen Hind, Route Enhancement Manager at Network Rail, and Stirling Kimkeran, chief executive of Omnicom Engineering.

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