Construction has formally commenced on the HS2 project, as it looks set to create around 22,000 new jobs
The symbolic announcement signals that the four Main Works Civils Contractors (MWCC) are moving from enabling works, scheme design and preparatory work, to full construction of the HS2 project.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said: “HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better – and with construction now formally underway, it’s set to create around 22,000 new jobs.
“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities.
“But HS2’s transformational potential goes even further. By creating hundreds of apprenticeships and thousands of skilled jobs, HS2 will fire up economic growth and help to rebalance opportunity across this country for years to come.”
HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, the Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture (BBV JV), along with its supply chain partners, has said it expects to be one of the biggest recruiters in the West Midlands over the next two years, with up to 7,000 skilled jobs required to complete its section of the HS2 route.
Michael Dyke, managing director for BBV JV said: “HS2 presents a significant opportunity for the West Midlands, with comprehensive plans to attract and retain the talented workforce required to deliver one of the most ambitious infrastructure schemes ever delivered in the UK now underway.
“Working alongside HS2, local authorities and charities, we are committed to offering people of all ages and backgrounds across the West Midlands the chance to benefit from the wide range of employment opportunities available through the scheme, including numerous apprenticeship and graduate positions.”
The EKFB Joint Venture (Eiffage, Kier, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial) – building the section from the Long Itchington Wood site in Warwickshire south to the Chiltern tunnel portals, has said it will recruit over 4,000 roles in the next two years, many based in Milton Keynes, as work ramps up in the area.
HS2’s Tier One construction partners based in Greater London – Skanska Costain STRABAG (SCS JV), Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA (BBVS JV), Align JV and Mace Dragados JV, confirmed that they will collectively recruit over 10,000 new jobs as HS2 gears up for major construction.
James Richardson, managing director of Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture, commented: “The green light on HS2 has meant Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture can now create more jobs and apprenticeships for the communities we’re working within and strengthen our industry for the future.
“We value our work in partnership with charities and communities to help promote these opportunities. This means we can attract the best talent, support those who might face barriers to returning to work, and make sure we’re representative of the communities we serve”.
Align JV expects to recruit 1,200 vacancies, with over 100 opportunities for apprentices. They plan to target their recruitment and investment in upskilling local people who are currently unemployed, with a particular focus on women, under 25s and those with disabilities.
HS2 Ltd itself is already directly recruiting for 500 new roles over the next three months, with the majority based in Birmingham, as the project moves into the construction phase.
‘A major milestone’
Transport secretary Grant Shapps, said: “Today marks a major milestone in this government’s ambitions to build back better from Covid-19.
“Shovels in the ground to deliver this new railway means thousands of jobs building the future of our country’s infrastructure.
“This fantastic moment is what leaders across the North and Midlands have called for – action to level up our country by boosting capacity on our railways, improving connections between our regions, and spreading prosperity.”
Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, said: “This is a hugely exciting moment in the progress of HS2. After 10 years of development and preparatory work, today we can formally announce the start of full construction, unlocking thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across the project.
“We are already seeing the benefits that building HS2 is bringing to the UK economy in the short term, but it’s important to emphasise how transformative the railway will be for our country when operational.
“With the start of construction, the reality of high speed journeys joining up Britain’s biggest cities in the North and Midlands and using that connectivity to help level up the country has just moved a step closer.”