With the government announcing the launch of the HS2 academy last week, focus has rightly turned to how Britain will build a new high speed line and what that means for the generation that will see its construction
Therefore, it is key that we learn from other experiences of where this has happened successfully. A good precedent for this is the Rhin-Rhone line, built and completed in France, where a target was set to recruit 12% of the workforce from various groups in the community. A fifth of which previously received RMI (French social welfare), 44% had been long term unemployed and 10% were over 50 and a small fraction of which had minor criminal records.
That’s thousands of disadvantaged people — from the physically disadvantaged to those from less fortunate backgrounds — benefitting from new jobs, lifelong skills and an array of new opportunities as a result of a new high speed line.
The Rhin-Rhone line should be a reminder to decision makers on HS2 that it can and should provide a real benefit and opportunity to all sections of British society.