UK Power Networks Service

Investing in local economies and our future workforce

5 March 2018

Major public infrastructure projects bring value to local economies years before the first train leaves the station, a plane touches down from a distant location, or a patient undergoes life-saving surgery.

Rail projects, such as High Speed 1 and High Speed 2, provide benefit to the local economies from inception, through construction and into operation. They bring immense value through connectivity and capacity, allowing people to travel and trade more widely bringing benefits to the local community from this commerce.

High Speed 1 has enabled the delivery of regeneration development schemes in Ebbsfleet, Stratford and King’s Cross with an estimated 70,000 new permanent jobs and potential for the economic gains to be worth £10 billion over 60 years 1.

During construction, these projects provide opportunities in the employment of apprentices, graduates, tradespeople, engineers, technicians and professionals to deliver the project. They also provide direct and indirect value to local businesses through those relocated to work on the project and the transport links opening up new opportunities and wider exposure to their services.

For new rail projects like High Speed 2, the size of the undertaking will be particularly beneficial to local economies right along the 330-mile route. The construction will provide new job opportunities for those working directly on the project and those supporting and supplying the project in each region, whilst project teams will be located in each community, benefitting local businesses.

The wider economic benefits also include a reduction in costs of commuting for those employed locally and an increase in productivity because of time saved 1.

Once the construction is finished and the first trains leave London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, infrastructure operation and maintenance teams will be placed in strategic locations along the route. These teams have the critical role of ensuring the railway runs seamlessly, and in our case, the electrical systems required to power the new high-speed trains.

To continue operating the railway successfully, local teams of engineers and technicians will need to look to the future by incorporating innovation in maintenance as well as passing on the knowledge and skills to the next generation. These sites are ideal for training new apprentices and graduates from the local area, who will then one day pass on their expertise. This is the where major infrastructure projects deliver far beyond their purpose – by providing generations of employment opportunities in regional areas.

Our long-term contract to own, operate and maintain the power systems for High Speed 1 has given us the ability to invest in our local teams. Our apprentices, technicians and engineers have the opportunity to develop their skills and find new opportunities on major public infrastructure in their local area.

We are committed to the future of our people through investment in apprentices and graduates, with an intake each year.

Within our High Speed 1 team, two of our apprentices, George and Adam, are now Technicians after joining as apprentices in 2013 and another apprentice, Matt, who joined in 2011, is now an Engineer. They are all working on High Speed 1 near their families, and are able to contribute to their communities in their own ways.

We have also recently welcomed a local teenager, Joe, who has started his career with us as an apprentice and will learn how to look after our electricity substations to maintain a safe and reliable power supply to the high-speed railway line. Today’s apprentice is tomorrow’s chartered engineer.

We look forward to the local employment opportunities High Speed 2 will offer the next generation of apprentices, graduates, technicians and engineers in these communities. Investment in infrastructure deliver benefits communities for the longer term. We are committed to sustained investment in the most important assets – our people.

1 Economic Impact of High Speed 1, Colin Buchanan and Volterra, commissioned by London & Continental Railways, January 2009.