Students rush for places at Doncaster’s HS2 college

From left, Doncaster mayor Ros Jones, transport minister Andrew Jones, and National College for High Speed Rail chief executive Clair Mowbray at the college on Friday
From left, Doncaster mayor Ros Jones, transport minister Andrew Jones, and National College for High Speed Rail chief executive Clair Mowbray at the college on Friday

A minister has told MPs that Doncaster’s national College for High Speed Rail has been inundated with prospective students.

Andrew Jones, the transport minister who visited the college earlier this week, told a Commons debate on the planned rail link that student applications had been ahead of expectations.

He said: “Several Members talked about the skills footprint and the careers legacy of HS2, with people perhaps spending their entire working career on the project, and I completely agree with them.

He told them he had visited the college in Doncaster, and added: “The college is progressing very well. It is due to open in September, and it is already attracting significant interest.

“In fact, the number of applicants seeking to go there in September is way ahead of projections. This is part of how HS2, among our other railways, will redefine the future. I saw the progress that the college has made – it has actually got as far as having track laid in the training workshop area – and that brings home to us that the project really is a very big and exciting opportunity.

He also said it was important that the human cost of any compulsory purchases was recognised over the HS2 plans, which could involve the demolition of houses on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough.

He added: “We must recognise that there is also a human or emotional cost.

“We do not just invest cash in creating our homes; our homes are much more than that, and we must respect the human cost. If some people have their homes repossessed or changed, we have to be sensitive and to treat people with respect and generosity.

“Quite frankly, if colleagues are not seeing that happen, I am sure they will be keen to raise that with me – they have already done so – and I am very happy to continue to raise their points with HS2 Ltd.

“I want HS2 Ltd to be a good neighbour, and I know that view is wholly shared by HS2 Ltd itself.”