250 HS2 apprentices on track for success

HS2 Ltd is now recruiting new apprentices to help build the new high-speed railway.

The next generation of engineers, project managers, designers, architects and geologists are playing their part in the construction of the new high-speed railway, as the project is on course to create 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities.

And now, to coincide with National Apprentice Week (Monday 4 to Friday 8 March), HS2 Ltd has opened up a new wave of apprentice vacancies offering an exciting career working on Europe’s largest infrastructure project, to gain skills that can be used around the globe.

With over 7,000 jobs already supported by the project and with work well underway on scores of live sites up and down Phase One of the railway, there has never been a more exciting time to jump on board.

It has also been revealed that both HS2 Ltd and its early works contractors are exceeding targets for the number of apprentices employed on the project.

Both HS2 Ltd’s CEO, Mark Thurston, and Chair, Allan Cook, began their careers as apprentices, demonstrating how apprenticeships can create the foundations for a successful career.

Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd and former Transport for London apprentice, said: “Creating over 250 apprenticeship roles across the HS2 programme is a significant milestone and shows good progress to date between us and our supply chain. We are committed to equipping the next generation with the technical skills to not only help design and build HS2, but to leave a lasting skills legacy for the country.

“Having started my own career as an apprentice, I absolutely know how an apprenticeship plays a crucial role in your early career development and goes a long way to give you the right skills that future employers need. I am really impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of our apprentices and I look forward to seeing them, and all our apprentices in our supply chain, develop as the project progresses.”

HS2 is also attracting more women into the traditionally male dominated construction and rail sectors. As this week also marks International Women’s Day, HS2 Ltd is proud that many of the apprentices now working on the project are women.

Gaining 2 years’ experience, in addition to a qualification has helped HS2 Ltd Project Management apprentice, Clara Lenzi, build her skills to progress in the industry, an advantage she feels she has on those coming straight from university. Clara, said: “Working on HS2 has been a superb experience. Studying for a qualification while being at work has allowed me to apply the knowledge to my every day work, giving me a better understanding, alongside opportunities for further development.

“At HS2 I’ve been given lots of responsibility, which has aided my progression and success as a Project Manager and allowed me to build invaluable relationships within the workplace. I am learning from some of the most experienced people in the industry. Sharing their knowledge and expertise with me has enable me to develop to the highest standard. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone at any age, it creates new challenges for you to face every day and will give you the experience to get to where you want to be in your career.”

A once in a lifetime opportunity to work on the biggest infrastructure project in Europe bought Naomi Blissett to HS2 Ltd as a Project Management apprentice. With a background in customer service and support roles, she had never studied for an apprenticeship before and went straight into the world of work after trying university and realising it wasn’t for her. At the age of 35, she is a great example of how it’s never too late to start an apprenticeship.

Naomi said: “Joining HS2 as an apprentice presented the opportunity of a lifetime, and has definitely been the right choice for me. I am closer to realising my career goals and have gained valuable experience while working towards new qualifications.

“As well as new project management skills, I have also developed my communication skills, being able to present to large audiences and communicate more confidently with senior colleagues.

“There’s a common misconception that apprenticeships are just for school and college leavers, but they are open to everyone. I have never looked back and will always encourage others to consider an apprenticeship when weighing up options for their career, no matter what stage of life they’re at.”

Many of the 250 apprentices are working with HS2’s supply chain companies. Around 2,000 companies have supported HS2 so far, with 70% of contracts going to SMEs, supporting jobs and apprenticeships right across the country. There will be 30,000 jobs at peak construction as HS2 demonstrates how it is delivering for the country – increasing capacity, rebalancing the economy and joining up Britain.

HS2 Ltd is keen to encourage a diverse range of candidates as it welcomes its next 25 apprentices into the business. The vacancies are open to everyone from school leavers to parents returning to work, or those looking for a new challenge.

To find out more about the scheme, and to apply for one of our latest apprenticeship roles visit our Future Talent page on our careers site.