High-speed rail report provides platform for Dundee firm

An artist’s impression of HS2

A Dundee company is playing a crucial role in keeping construction of Britain’s next generation of railway on track.

Whole Life Consultants (WLC) Ltd, a spin out company from the University of Dundee, has helped to deliver a report outlining the skills and labour requirements for the £55.7 billion HS2 high-speed rail project, as well as forecasting the future availability of qualified workers as it progresses.

As part of a consortium of experts, including the National Skills Academy for Rail, WLC has reported its findings to developer HS2 Ltd, utilising advanced data modelling systems to provide the management company with advanced notice of any potential mismatches in its need for and availability of staff.

Professor Malcolm Horner, chairman of WLC, said: “Making an assessment of the future demand and supply of skills is crucial to ensuring that the project has the necessary workforce in place, with the right skills to deliver the project.

“Our data analysis approaches have provided a top-down indicative insight into the potential future needs of specific occupations in construction and the wider context of the availability of those skills.”

HS2 will see the construction of 344 miles of new high-speed railway connecting the city centres of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, with trains crossing over onto the existing railway to serve towns, cities and their regions in the North of England and Scotland.

Construction between London and Birmingham is underway and expected to open in 2026, while construction from the West Midlands to Manchester, the East Midlands and Leeds is expected to be completed by 2033.

The report estimates that 15,000 jobs will be supported by the venture by 2020, rising to 30,000 at peak construction.

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