The BBC reports the government has revealed the winners of £6.6bn worth of contracts, supporting 16,000 jobs, to build the first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham. UK firms Carillion, Costain and Balfour Beatty are among the consortiums that will construct tunnels, bridges and embankments on the first stretch of the new line.

Rail staffing specialists have understandably welcomed this latest development in the project.

Mark Clinch, director – engineering at Rullion, told Recruiter the agency has played an active role in promoting the case for HS2, which the firm describes as an “essential” project to meet the future capacity demands for rail transportation. 

“In addition, as a company with our HQ in the North-West, we see HS2 as a key element of the Northern Power House Programme.

“Rullion is currently working with a number of organisations to help them attract the best and brightest talent to the project and we are optimistic about the opportunity that HS2 presents as a platform for nurturing and developing the next generation of construction and engineering professional for the rail sector.

“Undoubtedly the recruitment sector has a significant role to play in the success of HS2, not only that we provide our clients with the best talent to deliver the project on time and on budget, but that we also help the sector as a whole realise the opportunity to upskill the workforce, bring through the next generation and achieve a step change in the gender in-balance that current exists in the sector.

“We will be reaching out to our clients to form partnerships and alliances to make a success of HS2 and realise the opportunity that it presents for the rail and construction sector.”

Meanwhile Tom Perkin, director at Unite People, told Recruiter today’s development means the race is on to hire people for the project.

“This has been one of the most eagerly anticipated contract announcements for a long time, and one we in the recruitment industry welcome. As expected, HS2 has divided the main works up fairly evenly between the large consortiums but Costain-Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV) look to be the clear winners here, winning the most complex section of works, which include a huge tunnel drive starting in Euston and a massive viaduct crossing the Colne Valley lakes. 

“The consortiums will no doubt look to transfer staff from existing teams currently working on similar projects such as Crossrail, but there’s no question that the race to hire the right people for this project is now well and truly on.”

Morson rail director Gary Smithson added: “It’s great to see the project taking the next big step. Congratulations to all those who were contract winners, and it’s now time to start building tomorrow’s railway today.”