HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson MP visited Crewe today (24th August) and confirmed that new research has found that the construction of HS2 is expected to support over 4,000 more jobs than previously forecast – including a boost of almost 1,500 more jobs on the section between the West Midlands and Crewe.
Mr Stephenson also unveiled a new plaque at Crewe station which marks the Cheshire town out as one of the most important destinations on the HS2 line.
News of the jobs boost for the region was welcomed by Crewe and Nantwich MP, Dr Kieran Mullan, and Cheshire East Council’s Deputy leader Cllr Craig Browne, who greeted Mr Stephenson at Crewe station, alongside the Managing Director of the West Coast Partnership Development, Caroline Donaldson.
Andrew Stephenson, HS2 Minister, said:
“HS2 will be a spark for new jobs and economic growth as we build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m delighted to announce that the project is now expected to support thousands more jobs than previously forecast. The section from Birmingham-Crewe alone is due to deliver 6,500 jobs, creating valuable new opportunities and an enduring skills legacy.”
HS2 Ltd published its Skills, Employment and Education Strategy in 2018, setting out its plans to upskill local people in readiness for the 30,000 jobs that the construction of HS2 was at that time forecasted to support. Today, HS2 has released a new report, Building the Skills to Deliver HS2 Phase One and 2a, supported by independent research, which forecasts that the construction of HS2 is now expected to support over 34,000 jobs.
The jobs boost comes at a crucial time as the UK strives to build back better. HS2 is already playing a crucial role in Britain’s post-pandemic economic recovery, with over 16,000 jobs currently supported and over 2,000 businesses having delivered work on the project so far, 70% of which are SMEs and over 97% are based in the UK.
Kate Myers, HS2’s Head of Skills, Employment and Education said:
“This new report shows that there are thousands more jobs to come and that trend will continue as HS2 extends north.
“Our focus on investing in young people and upskilling communities along the route of the new railway will ensure that HS2 leaves a lasting skills legacy.”
The report puts into context the critical role that HS2 will play in supporting young people and unemployed people back into work after the pandemic. It highlights that HS2’s total workforce for Phase One and 2a is expected to peak at around 26,500 people over the next two years and that there will be a constant labour demand of 23,600–26,500 people from now until 2025/26.
Alongside a commitment to create 2,000 apprenticeships on HS2 – 650 of which have already been created – the labour and skills forecasting data, set out in an accompanying report, shows that job opportunities will be available across a broad range of sectors. HS2’s construction partners are already recruiting for hundreds of roles and jobseekers, particularly those who are out of work, are encouraged to keep checking HS2’s online jobs board, which is updated daily.
Welcoming the news that the extension of the railway to Crewe is set to support more jobs than initially anticipated, Dr Kieran Mullan MP said:
‘’HS2 is going to bring jobs and opportunities to Crewe, building on our existing status as a rail industry hub. Moving intercity journeys to the new line will free up space to improve local services which is the priority for residents in Cheshire.
“I look forward to working with the Minister and HS2 to build back better in Crewe’’
Caroline Donaldson, Managing Director for the West Coast Partnership Development, said:
“This is great news for the region, and we are proud to support HS2’s role in the post pandemic recovery.
“The visit today highlights the welcome boost for Crewe and the West Midlands presenting a great opportunity for the area as we build back better.”
As part of his visit, the HS2 Minister received a tour of Crewe station, where Network Rail explained the programme of upgrades they will complete in readiness for the arrival of HS2 services within the next decade. The work will provide better connectivity and resilience for passenger and freight services through Crewe and includes significant improvements to track, signalling equipment and extending the station platforms.
Chris Pye, infrastructure director for Network Rail’s north west route, said:
“Today’s been a brilliant opportunity to talk about Crewe’s exciting future railway upgrades that will get the north ready for HS2 services.
“The work planned to be delivered by Network Rail and HS2 Ltd will not only transform the local rail network by boosting reliability and connectivity for passengers and freight trains through Crewe, but it will also deliver knock-on economic benefits through new jobs and investment opportunities.”
Philip Cox, Chief Executive of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The arrival of HS2 means that Crewe has a very bright future.
“HS2 represents the sort of step change that only comes along once in a generation. It will have a transformational impact and make Crewe one of the best business locations in the country. As the key hub into the North West, it will create jobs across all parts of the economy to follow on from those generated during the construction phase.”
Photo credit: HS2