Consultation on proposed name change for NCHSR

The National College for High Speed Rail is an employer-led college created by the Government to match industry’s demands for higher technical skills with British students seeking to develop world class skills.

Built on two state-of-the-art campuses in Birmingham and Doncaster, and a small ‘hub’ in Widnes, the College provides training for the high-tech engineers, managers, designers, apprentices and advanced manufacturing talent that is needed for the UK’s burgeoning high-speed rail industry, as well as other major British infrastructure schemes.

Our foundations are built on being a truly industry responsive College. Through our regular engagement with industry, we know that there is a clear demand for the higher technical skills delivered by the College across the advanced transport and infrastructure sector – a sector characterised by its move towards using modern techniques, digitalisation and the latest technology. This move towards these developments means a new and growing demand for the skills to deliver them. Our College, therefore, is ideally placed to tackle the skills shortage for the broader advanced transport and infrastructure sector – not only rail.

Our new vision is to modify our curriculum to provide higher technical skills for the advanced transport and infrastructure sector. So in addition to high speed rail and rail modernisation, it will also encompass other types of rail (for example light rail, metro and freight), highways, transport infrastructure (for example airports, service stations and bus stations), smart mobility and infrastructure (for example BIM and intelligent vehicles) and digital transport systems (for example systems engineering, control centres, transport networks and maintenance). We will be undertaking further consultation on our curriculum diversification plans to ensure they are industry aligned.

The skills challenge faced by the broader transport sector is significant, but not insurmountable. The latest figures published by the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce* estimates that 41,000 people are needed to fill roles on the road network; 50,000 are needed in rail; and 180,000 people nationally are needed to deliver the Heathrow Expansion project. In addition to addressing the skills shortage, the nature of the work in the sector is also changing and there are potential skills gaps, particularly at the higher technical levels that are at the heart of the College’s educational delivery.

The requirement for higher level skills in the workforce is set to increase due to developments in technology, increasing digitalisation and different methods of doing things – for example, the move towards offsite construction and smart asset management. New roles will also emerge which require skillsets not needed previously.

We have an important role to play in addressing this. Our curriculum, which is based around Level 4 and 5 apprenticeships and full-time courses, expands to some discreet Level 3 provision, right through to Level 6 and short CPD courses, is industry-led and industry-focused, utilising the very best technology, facilities and teaching practice.

We realise our current name is not the best fit for us to be recognised for our new vision. At the start of the new academic year, we are seeking to implement a name to reflect our wider offer. Building on our existing profile and relationships with HS2 Ltd, the HS2 project and the HS2 supply chain, we also intend to retain our ‘High Speed Rail’ specialism as a centre of excellence.

Our proposal is to change our formal legal name to:

  • the ‘National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure’, shortened to ‘ATI’ 
  • we also aim to retain the ‘High Speed Rail’ brand as a centre of excellence of ATI

We are obliged to formally consult before we change our name**. It is a standard process to ensure it is not confusing or misleading.

As a valued stakeholder, we would warmly welcome your response. The consultation closes on 29 May 2019.

To respond to our consultation, please click here to complete our short survey.

With very best wishes

Clair Mowbray
Chief Executive