Local people in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire who are unemployed are being encouraged to register for a free construction training course linked to opportunities to work on HS2

EKFB joint venture, HS2’s construction partner for the 80km section of the railway between the Chilterns and Warwickshire, is co-ordinating up to 200 free places on the training programme.

The free training course is thanks to funding awarded by the Construction Industry Training Board’s Construction Skills Fund.

The accredited plant operator training programme, which takes a week to complete, is being delivered in partnership with local training providers, Apple Construction and Buckinghamshire College Group.

The free training course is accredited by the Construction Plant Competence Scheme and consists of a combination of both practical and theory-based training and will provide applicants with the entry-level skills needed to work on a construction site.

EKFB JV will be working with its delivery partners and supply chain team to support those that successfully complete the free training programme with work placements and employment opportunities.

The application process for the course is now live and weekly training courses are being offered up until March 2021.

Transforming Britain’s railways

Mark Warrilow, skills manager for HS2 Ltd, said: “We are committed to ensuring that HS2 creates meaningful employment and skills opportunities for local people along the line of the railway, and this is a great example of that.

“With major construction set to begin in earnest this summer, this training course offers candidates that vital first step into roles supporting the construction and delivery of a project that will truly transform Britain’s railways and revitalise local economies.”

Michael Sedgwick, EKFB’s skills manager, commented: “The low number of construction operatives in the local area meant we were able to secure funding from the CITB to upskill up to 200 local people.

“This training programme will help to ensure that a skilled workforce of plant operatives is in place, ready for the pipeline of construction roles that are coming on board through our supply chain, as we prepare for major construction works on HS2.”

Heather Dean, head of business support and skills, Buckinghamshire Business First, added: “In the last few months, we’ve seen a three-fold increase in the number of Buckinghamshire residents claiming unemployment related benefits.

“National projections suggest that there will be the second rise in unemployment in the autumn, when the government’s Job Retention Scheme comes to an end.

“This free training programme therefore will help to upskill local people, enabling them to make the most of job opportunities being created by upcoming developments in the county.”

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