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New plant training centre provides fast-track to HS2 jobs for Bucks and Northants residents

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Flannery Plant Hire has joined forces with HS2’s construction partner EKFB (a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall), to create a new training centre that can upskill local people ready for jobs on HS2 in as little as two weeks.

The purpose-built Operator Skills Hub, which has opened its doors and is already training over 100 new recruits, includes a 16-seat classroom, three indoor plant simulators and a four-acre outdoor space for practical training and assessments. It has been built on HS2’s A422 Brackley Road compound in Westbury to enable trainees to see exactly how the skills they develop can be put straight into use supporting HS2’s construction.

Flannery Plant Hire secured funding from the Department for Education to deliver a broad range of training programmes, including its two-week ‘Skills Bootcamp’ in plant operations, which is free to local residents over the age of 19. The two-week programme provides all the training and accreditation needed to start work as a plant operator and is designed to support those most in need, or who are looking for a career change, to develop new skills and secure employment in record time.

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said: “We want local people to benefit from huge projects like HS2, and this new training centre will open up the ladder of opportunity to those who want to upskill or retrain in Bucks and Northants.

 “Skills Bootcamps are at the heart of our ambitious skills agenda, delivering high quality training that will support more adults to gain the skills they need to secure good jobs in sectors like construction and transport.”

Recognising the crucial role that the Operator Skills Hub will play in upskilling the next generation and supporting Bucks residents into employment, the region’s Skills Advisory Panel has supported the Hub by providing funding for a complementary mobile training centre.

Furnished to a high spec, including classroom space and its own plant training simulator, the mobile centre will be used to engage job seekers at local careers fares as well as providing a vital link into schools and colleges to demonstrate the local training and careers opportunities available.

Patrick Flannery, managing director of Flannery Plant Hire said: “We’re delighted to be opening the Bucks Operator Skills Hub. This will support local people to enter the construction sector, where there are significant skills and employment shortages, by gaining the skills to become a highly effective Plant Operator.  We have worked collaboratively with many key stakeholders to get this established, including the Bucks LEP, EKFB and the DFE. We look forward to it being a huge success.”

The Skills Hub has the capacity to deliver 400 Skills Bootcamp trainees and 100 Trailblazer apprenticeships every year, and the team behind the new centre hope to attract a further 200 people onto their bespoke two-week Skills Bootcamp over the next five months.

Image credit: HS2

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