Digital defenders of the future assessed their rail skills ability in a Building Bridges workshop which was organised by HS2 for the Derbyshire Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum. Young people took part in a quiz to match their interests and skills for a future role in building HS2, from design to construction and from cyber security to customer experience.

“At the peak of construction, over 30,000 people will play a role in delivering Britain’s new high- speed railway. HS2 is investing in young people now to help address the country’s skills shortage and ensure we leave a lasting talent legacy for the future,” said Judith Rowe, Engagement Advisor at HS2 Ltd.

Building Bridges took place in Chesterfield which will be served by HS2 from 2033.  The increased capacity brought by HS2 is considered to be  essential for the local growth of the burgeoning knowledge-based industries.

Great opportunities will be offered by the proposed HS2 Infrastructure Maintenance Depot at Staveley.  75 construction roles could be provided and when operational, it could provide 200 high-skilled jobs. Derbyshire County Council’s masterplan also involves 1,500 new homes and 800 new jobs around the site.

12-year-old Sharmaine Carabana from Chesterfield, wisely commented that “we do need HS2, because we have so many cars that can damage the environment and pollute the earth but using one train that goes around everywhere is better than having lots of cars that use petrol and pollute the skies.”

Interested in cyber security, 10-year-old Antonio Pelayo, from Chesterfield, added “HS2 is great. If I worked on HS2, I would be a digital defender, so I could protect all the railway’s information.”

HS2 Ltd is the first company in the sector to trial ‘blind recruitment’ which, like auditions on TV’s ‘The Voice’, takes away everything other than technical ability at the very first stage of recruitment. This removes any unconscious bias – where, unknowingly people often favour those presenting in their own image.

Derbyshire’s BME Forum is jointly run by Links CVS – the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire Council for Voluntary Service and Action Ltd – and Derbyshire County Council.

For information on HS2’s secondary school programme for future engineers, press here.

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