HS2 is looking for contractors for the next phase of one of Europe's most ambitious infrastructure projects. Contracts worth up to £250m will last for 8 years.
According to the PIN, HS2 requires ground investigation contractors for the northern section of the project, supporting the construction of lines from Birmingham to Crewe, Crewe to Manchester, Sheffield to Leeds and Lichfield to Sheffield. Other routes in the North West and Midlands may also be involved.
Interested contractors are due to be briefed by HS2 at a video conference in early July. The formal bidding process will then open in early January 2021. HS2 is planning to appoint a ground investigation partner plus a number of contractors. The ground investigation partner will take the role of principal contractor to provide technical assurance as well as taking a project management role with other firms.
This work is designed to provide certainty in costs, programming and construction methods. HS2 has already announced its shortlist for the Birmingham Curzon Street station, a project worth £570m. Competing for the deal are a Bam Nuttall and Ferrovial joint venture, a Mace and Dragados partnership and Laing O'Rourke.
Critical to the success of HS2, currently the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, will be a skilled workforce. And a new partnership from BBV and Walsall College is designed to get 16-18 year olds involved directly in HS2 via a new T-level qualification in construction. 20% of the course will take the form of an industry placement, giving successful candidates the equivalent of 315 hours spent directly involved in the construction of HS2.
This should give students invaluable insight into the way major infrastructure projects are developed. The course aims to cover environmental engineering, geospatial surveying, BIM and project management techniques. Of the 8,000 BBV employees delivering its HS2 civil engineering contracts, 400 roles are expected to be filled by graduates and apprentices.
Bridging the skills gap
Michael Dyke, BBV's managing director for HS2, is positive that the new qualification will help to bridge the significant skills gap that civil engineering currently faces. The new T-level is designed to attract new entrants to the industry and build the future, highly skilled, workforce. With apprenticeships and a wide range of work experience opportunities on offer, the BBV-Walsall College partnership is poised to be a critical part of delivering HS2.
"Through our innovative partnership with HS2 and Walsall College, students will not only have the opportunity to work on one of Europe's largest infrastructure projects but will see their work realised and enjoyed for many years," Dyke said.
HS2's head of skills and employment Kate Myers echoed his sentiments. She said HS2 needed skilled young people to be at the heart of the 30,000 strong workforce required to deliver the project. HS2 is already revitalising the West Midlands by supporting local businesses and creating jobs and economic growth in the area.
Young people will be given an invaluable opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills and further their career path by contributing to one of the UK's largest ever infrastructure projects.