HS2 contractors unite to inspire SEND pupils in Ealing into STEM careers

HS2 contractors unite to inspire SEND pupils in Ealing into STEM careers.

HS2 contractors have joined forces to inspire pupils in Ealing with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) into transport infrastructure related careers.

Around 28,500 people are currently helping to build HS2 and over 1,260 people have already secured apprenticeships, supporting HS2’s drive to plug the skills gap. 

Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA, Skanska Costain STRABAG, Mace Dragados and Align JV worked with the Ealing SEND Hub to deliver the eight-week programme. HS2’s four contractors delivered science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning sessions and provided tours of HS2’s construction sites. The sessions explained the different jobs and skills needed to build the new high-speed rail network and provided guidance on career pathways – including opportunities to join HS2 on work experience and placement days.

Ambrose Quashie, HS2’s legacy manager for Greater London, said: “We want local people to benefit from the jobs and opportunities that HS2 is creating, and our contractors are working exceptionally hard to create pathways into training and employment for young people and adults with SEND.

“We look forward to working with the Ealing SEND Hub to engage more young people in the months and years ahead, and we hope that this initiative will inspire young people to consider a career on HS2 in the future.” 

Three schools in Ealing – John Chilton, St Ann’s and Springhallow – took part in the programme, which was tailored to meet the learning requirements of each schools’ pupils. From mock job interviews, to working alongside HS2’s community and traffic management teams, the pupils were encouraged to explore how their skills aligned to different job roles.

Lisa Quinn, co-director of Business Education Events, a community interest company which brings employers and students together, said: “This was an incredible experience for our young SEND people who were given access to everyone working on HS2, from catering staff to engineers and the senior management team.

“Each session was meticulously planned with the disabilities of the students in mind. The programme was inclusive and showed dignity to all, we can’t wait to come back.”

Frederick Hill, a student at Springhallow Post-16 School, said: “I really enjoyed learning about HS2. I liked all the trucks on the construction sites and looking at the steel poles that will be there for years to come. Everyone was kind to me.”

The initiative brings to life commitments made by HS2 in its Skills, Employment and Education strategy, which aims to encourage more young people to consider careers in transport infrastructure. Over a third of HS2’s workforce (3,221 people) was formerly unemployed, and the focus on delivering training and fast-track employment programmes is helping people from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups to launch careers on HS2. HS2 and its construction partners are Disability Confident employers. They work closely with employment support services and local charities to help people with SEND to launch careers helping to build Britain’s new railway.

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