Balfour Beatty has launched a new plant operator skills hub in Birmingham in partnership with plant hire firm Flannery.
The hub aims to train 30 apprentices during its first year, as well as providing 200 supplementary courses to enhance existing knowledge and train over 500 operatives in readiness for HS2.
The facility will offer state-of-the-art training simulators as well as the latest semi-autonomous vehicles to prepare plant operators and apprentices for the modern, digitally enabled construction sites.
Andy Ormerod, managing director of Balfour Beatty’s Plant and Fleet Services business, said: “With real and growing skills shortages across our industry, inspiring young people has never been more important. Our new Operator Skills Hub provides a unique offering – one that will revolutionise the way in which we upskill plant operators and equip them with modern, digitally enhanced tools to support a safer, more productive construction and infrastructure industry.
“Over the last year, we have been proud to partner with Flannery and collaborate with our peers, valued supply chain partners and local communities in order to create this truly immersive and exciting educational experience; providing a central resource to benefit major construction and infrastructure projects, such as HS2.”
Patrick Flannery, managing director Flannery Plant Hire added: “As one of the largest providers of operated plant in the UK it is imperative that we are able to provide a consistent, quality training experience for operators. It is clear that as the industry continues to adopt and drive innovation, we have to engage operators, helping to retain our industries best talent and ensuring they have the tools to deliver value on-site.
“This purpose-built facility reflects our vibrant and evolving industry and seeing the first intake of the new Trailblazer Plant Operator Apprentices starting their careers here is hugely exciting.”
Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd said: “As one of our key construction partners on Phase One of HS2, Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) expects to be one of the biggest recruiters in the West Midlands and Warwickshire over the next two years, with up to 7,000 skilled jobs required to complete its section of the HS2 route. These jobs emphasise the importance that HS2 is playing in Britain’s economic recovery from Covid-19.
“The Operator Skills Hub will play a vital role in ensuring local people have the opportunity to upskill in readiness for these employment opportunities on Britain’s new railway.”