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HS2’s West Midlands contractor hits 100th apprentice milestone

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Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV), HS2’s West Midlands construction partner, has reached its 100th apprentice milestone.

BBV places a strong focus on recruiting and investing in people from the region, and 20 year-old Benjamin Richards-Moss, from West Bromwich, is among the latest cohort of young people to join the company and start building a new career.

Through its partnership with the Hive College in Erdington, Birmingham, BBV supports young people aged 19-25 who have disabilities and different learning needs. The partnership brings together learners who are ready to transition into employment with local companies who will support their needs.

Benjamin, who has cerebral palsy, began an internship with BBV in November 2021. The opportunity enabled him to spend one day a week at work, so he could adjust to the workplace environment and gain new skills that aligned to his future career ambitions.

After four months, Benjamin increased his internship to three days per week and when the opportunity arose to join BBV as a full-time Business Administration apprentice he seized his chance.

Benjamin said:

“The internship let me get a feel for what it’s like to work at BBV, and to be part of the huge team of people helping to deliver HS2.

“Joining a Disability Confident employer was really important to me, and everyone has been so supportive and welcoming. My apprenticeship lasts for 18 months, and I already know that I want to stay here and hopefully progress into a business or IT-related role.”

Benjamin is based at BBV’s giant 550,000 sq m construction site in Kingsbury, Warwickshire and plays a key role in the administration function supporting their onsite training academy. BBV forecasts that its total workforce, to deliver its 90km stretch of the HS2 route, will reach 7,000 and the Kingsbury training academy is at the heart of ensuring its workforce is trained, accredited and job-ready to support the construction programme.

Through his apprenticeship Benjamin combines work and study via Solihull College and University, where he is studying Business Administration.

Vicki Lovatt, Balfour Beatty VINCI’s Head of Learning and Development is responsible for the site’s Skills Academy where Benjamin is based. Vicki has praised his drive and determination to succeed.

Vicki said:

“Benjamin has quickly become a vital member of the Skills Academy team. From day one, his attitude and willingness to learn on the job has been exceptional.

“It’s fitting that Benjamin has been named Balfour Beatty’ VINCI’s 100th apprentice. His story is a great example to others about overcoming adversity to achieve career goals.”

HS2 has committed to creating pathways into employment for thousands of young people, as part of its drive to upskill the next generation and leave a lasting skills legacy. Over 950 apprentices have joined HS2 to date, putting the project firmly on track to meet its target of providing 2,000 apprenticeships.

Julie Venn-Morton, HS2’s Skills Manager for the West Midlands said:

“Benjamin is a fantastic role model for young people with a disability and we are extremely proud of his achievements and the role he’s playing to support HS2’s construction.

“Across HS2 and our supply chain, we are developing partnerships with specialist schools and colleges right along the line of the new railway. This commitment will allow us to support more young people with disabilities, and those with learning needs, into employment on HS2.”

For more information about careers and opportunities to work on HS2, visit hs2.org.uk/careers

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