HS2 celebrates creating over 1,000 apprenticeships

Jessica Miles, HS2's 1,000th apprentice, works with HS2's construction partner Align Joint Venture.

HS2 is celebrating the start of 1,126 apprenticeships – hitting over half its target.

The new starters mean the company building Britain’s new railway is more than halfway on track to smash its target of creating 2,000 apprenticeships.

When construction began on the first phase of the project in September 2020, linking London and the West Midlands, HS2 forecast that it would create 22,000 jobs in the coming years. 

Just over two years later, its skilled workforce has now reached nearly 30,000, with thousands more jobs supported across the country in the wider supply chain.

Jessica Miles is HS2’s 1,000th apprentice and it was the opportunity to earn, learn and gain nationally recognised qualifications which attracted her to a new career.

The 30-year-old from Cockfosters, North London, worked in retail fashion for six years and climbed the ladder to management level.

Last year, she joined HS2 construction partner Align joint venture on a two-year Level 5 HR consultant apprenticeship, where she combines work with study at West Herts College.

“It just goes to show that it’s never too late to follow your dreams,” she said. “I was 30 when I started my apprenticeship, but my college education meant I was able to begin studying at Level 5, so I’m on track to gain a fantastic qualification that will really boost my career.

“I’m working on the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, helping to recruit a talented workforce to deliver the amazing construction challenges I see in front of me every day. I’m not just building my career, but helping thousands of others too, and we’re all working together to deliver this once in a lifetime project.”

With three further phases of HS2’s construction in the pipeline, extending the new zero carbon railway to Crewe, Manchester and the East Midlands will provide a further boost to the UK’s economy and the government’s levelling up agenda, years before the first trains run.

Every year, HS2 and its construction partners invest in bringing more apprentices into the business. Career pathways are now supported in over 40 different apprenticeship types, with education and training provided by colleges and universities across the country.

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, who began his career as an apprentice, said: “Creating early career opportunities and investing in the development of a skilled workforce delivers both immediate and long-term benefits to the UK economy, as well as giving us the opportunity to become a world leader in high speed rail.”

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