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22,000 jobs to be created as HS2 rail project work begins



Construction of the UK’s long awaited £106 billion high-speed rail line, HS2, has finally officially begun today, with claims that it will create 22,000 jobs over the next 20 years. 

The project will create a high speed rail line that will connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds through a “Y” shaped network. The project is being built in 2 stages, with Stage 1 running from London, through Birmingham Interchange and ending in Crewe. This stage began today and is due to be completed by 2028-2031. 

Stage 2 will continue the line from Crewe to Manchester, while a second line is built from the Birmingham Interchange to Leeds. This stage has yet to be is due for completion between 2035 and 2040.

Preparatory work, including design, ground clearance and demolition has been going on for the past few months, but today marks the formal start to construction.

“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,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“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.”

Job creation

Sections of Phase 1 are being led by different contractors, creating a massive recruitment drive for skilled workers in various areas. 

The Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture (BBV JV) will be the main works contractor for West Midlands and has said it expects up to 7,000 skilled jobs required over the next two years for its section of the Phase 1 works. The JV has also stressed a core focus to invest in the skills of women and under 25s. 

In Warwickshire a section running from the Long Itchington Wood site to the Chiltern tunnel portals is being built by the Eiffage, Kier, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Joint Venture (EKFB JV) and will recruit over 4,000 roles in the next two years, many based in Milton Keynes.

In Greater London there are several joint ventures operating on the project including BBVS JV, Skanska Costain STRABAG (SCS JV), Align JV and Mace Dragados JV. As major construction ramps up these will collectively be creating 10,000 new jobs. 

And finally HS2 Ltd itself is set to create 500 new roles over the next three months, with the majority based in Birmingham. 

As additional jobs are created throughout the 20 year construction of the project, HS2 has also forecasted around 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK business will be created, supporting thousands more jobs. 9%% of these contract opportunities are expected to be won by UK based businesses. 

There is also the potential for potential for 2,000 apprenticeships to be created in Phase One. 

“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,” said Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd.

“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.”

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22,000 jobs to be created as HS2 rail project work begins - Time to read 4 min
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