New year, new career on HS2

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Ten formerly unemployed London residents are starting the new year having secured full-time jobs helping to build HS2.

Their achievements were marked at a celebratory event in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, Westminster City Hall, after all ten candidates graduated from a paid work trial with HS2’s London-based construction partner, Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture (SCS JV) and its contractor Danny Sullivan Group.

In October, unemployed residents from Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster boroughs, which all border HS2’s line of route, were given the opportunity to apply for a bespoke training and paid work trial programme. The opportunity, which allows candidates to earn and learn, while getting a feel for what a career in construction can offer, forms part of HS2’s commitment to ensure local people, and those most in need, benefit from employment opportunities on the two-decade long construction project.

Ambrose Quashie, HS2’s Skills Manager for Greater London said: “We’re working closely with our employment partners in seven London boroughs to help people who are out of work to develop new skills and progress into skilled jobs with long-term career prospects.

“The paid work trial scheme was a huge success, and we’re delighted for those that completed the four-week programme and have gone on to secure full-time employment.”

All ten candidates begin their new roles helping to build HS2 this month. Four will join the tunnelling operative apprenticeship programme, supporting the 26-mile-long London tunnelling works delivered by SCS JV. The remaining candidates will form part of HS2’s ‘orange army’ working at sites in Ealing and Camden.

Celebration event for unemployed people who have secured jobs with HS2

“This programme is a fantastic example of how collaboration can have a real impact on the local communities we operate in,” said Ruairi Coffey, head of Training, Skills and People Development at Danny Sullivan Group. “Being engaged from the outset and actively supported by HS2 and SCS JV throughout, it’s fantastic to have secured long-term positions for so many of the candidates.”

“This is by far the most successful employability programme we have been involved in. The positive feedback from all candidates regarding their experience is testament to the integrated delivery approach we adopted. We are delighted to have all these individuals on board with Danny Sullivan Group and look forward to supporting them to develop long term and successful careers in this industry.”

A workforce of nearly 30,000 are already helping to build HS2 between the North, the Midlands and the South, and SCS JV forecasts that it will need hundreds more people to help construct the network of tunnels on the HS2 route to its southern terminus at Euston. The team is already making rapid progress, with two of the seven TBMs now in the ground.

The bespoke paid work trial programme, delivered in partnership with Camden Council, TheForge@ParkRoyal (part of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation), West London College and United Colleges Group, is just one of the ways SCS JV is striving to ensure that local people get to play a part in completing this engineering feat.

Frankie Jones, Skills and Employment manager at SCS JV said: “This programme has shown what a huge difference we can make, by working together as contractors, with HS2 and with our local stakeholders. We have a great opportunity to make a difference and we are committed to ensuring that the people and communities on whose doorsteps we are building Britain’s new railway benefit, not just today but for years to come.

“The candidates we have had the pleasure of supporting on this programme are a fantastic example of how we are bringing that commitment to life and they have a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience on the biggest infrastructure project in Europe. A huge well done to them all.”

Image credit: HS2

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