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  1. ITV Report

Full steam ahead for HS2 as National College for High Speed Rail opens

The National College for High Speed Rail has officially opened its doors.

Situated on Lister Street in Birmingham, the college hopes to fill a skills shortage of 69,000 engineers as plans for HS2 get underway.

It's one of five colleges across the country that has been created by the government, offering the chance to study a range of courses taught by industry specialists.

69,000
The number of engineers the UK is short of each year.
20%
The number of rail engineers currently aged over 55.

It's hoped a minimum of 50% of pupils will be apprentices, and staff are actively encouraging young people - especially women - to get involved.

The college is one of five nationwide that has been created by the government. Credit: ITV News Central

CEO Clair Mowbray said:

There is a huge misconception about what engineering is about.

People don't understand the range of opportunities there are and actually this is about focusing on the different skills and putting the passenger at the heart.

A female perspective is a really important one in that.

We also need to get employers to stop recruiting to type and seeing the benefit of having a diverse workforce.

– Clair Mowbray

The college is "dedicated to the future of the UK's railway industry" and combines classroom learning with hands-on experience for pupils over 18 years of age.

The campus combines classroom based learning with more hands-on experience. Credit: ITV News Central

It's the largest of the five national colleges and is at the heart of the new HS2 line.

Work on HS2 is expected to begin next year, connecting London to Birmingham, the East Midlands and the North.