As part of a wider visit to the Birmingham City Region, The Earl spent a good hour meeting  learners at the college to discover more about the specialist qualifications they are gaining which will help to build future national rail projects, including HS2. 

The employer-led college which opened on Lister Street last year, is backed by Government and tasked with helping to plug the skills gap in engineering and related disciplines.  The National College for High Speed Rail is also working towards improving diversity within the sector – especially by encouraging more women and underrepresented groups to consider careers in construction, transport and infrastructure.

Clair Mowbray, chief executive at the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “This is the first royal visit we’ve had to our college and as such, it highlights the high profile we’ve achieved in a relatively short space of time. 

“Having the interest of a high profile figure like The Earl of Wessex is vital for the college, as we look to alleviate complex skills challenges through training and apprenticeships.  HRH's  visit can help to spread the important message that while the industry does currently face a significant skills gap, there has never been a more exciting time to get involved in rail, engineering and related disciplines.”       

Tim Pile, chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said:

“GBSLEP’s £7.5 million investment into the National College for High Speed Rail is helping to deliver the rail engineers of the future, stimulating sustainable and long-term economic growth and benefits to Greater Birmingham and Solihull.

“Today’s visit to the College by HRH The Earl of Wessex helps to underline the significant impact that HS2 is already having on the region. It also demonstrates how GBSLEP funding is helping to address skills shortages in the engineering sector, giving our young population a pathway into working on one of the Europe’s most important infrastructure projects.”