Europe’s largest infrastructure project now employing 30,000 people

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Almost 30,000 people are now onboard supporting HS2's construction in the UK.

HS2 in the UK is making a real difference to the employment prospects of thousands of people.

In the last three months, the rapid pace of the construction of UK rail mega-project HS2 has seen more than 2,300 people join an ‘orange army’ building HS2’s stations, viaducts, bridges and embankments, taking the current total workforce to just under 30,000.

The project’s record employment figure reflects the scale of major civil engineering and early works now underway, spanning 350 sites from the south east to the north west of the UK. HS2 is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and civil engineering works are now underway on over 350 active sites between the West Midlands and London.

The first tunnelling breakthrough at Long Itchington in Warwickshire, the appointment of the HS2 interchange station construction partner and the launch of the first giant tunnelling machine in London, are just some of the construction highlights that have fuelled workforce growth since the summer.

Demonstrating that major infrastructure projects can have a positive impact on boosting economic vitality, the project has supported many hundreds of people into jobs, so much so that the total number of formerly unemployed now working on HS2 is just under 2,500.

HS2’s construction partners are also working with employment support services and local authorities along the route of the railway to ensure that those most in need can access fast-track training programmes that lead to paid work trials and employment in a matter of weeks.

Mark Thurston, CEO at HS2 Ltd commented: “HS2 is delivering growth for the UK economy today. Our contract awards are helping small businesses across the UK to grow and sustain their workforces, and nearly 30,000 people are benefiting from skilled jobs with a long-term future.

“By supporting apprentices and the unemployed into meaningful careers on HS2 we’re creating the next generation of engineers and construction workers, a trend that will continue as our construction programme gathers momentum going north.”

A further 210 UK businesses joined HS2’s supply chain this quarter, taking the current number of unique suppliers to 2,760 across all 12 UK nations and regions. Around 61% of those actively engaged in the supply chain are SMEs.

In addition, the drive to upskill the next generation is also continuing, with 45 new apprentice starts recorded in the second quarter of this year, putting HS2 firmly on track to reach its target of creating 2,000 new apprentice starts.

HS2 Phase One will include construction of four brand new stations – each a mega-project unlocking thousands of new jobs and homes – two major depots, 32 miles of tunnel, nine miles of viaduct and 140 bridges.

The project will deliver some of Britain’s longest viaducts, spanning valleys, lakes and rivers, specially designed to minimise noise and vibration. As well as bringing the UK’s regions and cities closer together, HS2 will also help Britain meet its 2050 net-zero carbon target as the project provides a better alternative to regional air and road travel.

Click here to find out more about the HS2 project.