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Bid to bring HS2 college to Brierfield

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A call has been made to bring another college to Pendle.

It would house the Government’s new further education college dedicated to the training of engineers involved in the HS2 high-speed rail project here in Pendle.

And if successful it would form a major part of the Northlight project in Brierfield Mills.

As many as 2,000 apprenticeships could be on offer over the lifetime of the project.

And it could have a significant bearing on the campaign to reopen the rail link between Pendle and Skipton.

The location of and funding for the college, which is set to open in 2017, have yet to be announced.

But Nelson county councillor Azhar Ali has written to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, calling for a meeting to discuss the Government’s plans to build a dedicated fur college to train engineers.

County Coun. Ali said: “Everything is in place here to make a success of the new skills college.

“In Nelson and Colne College and the UCLan campus in Burnley, we have outstanding higher and further education facilities in this area and the perfect venue at Brierfield Mills.

“It is right next door to Brierfield railway station and siting the college in Pendle would mean the proposed reinstatement of the Colne-Skipton railway line would enable the east and west coasts to be linked and allow the right skills to deliver for Britain’s railways.

“With investment from the Government added in to the mix in the form of this new engineering college, we could make Pendle and Lancashire a real hot spot for the sort of skills training Britain needs.

“If the Government is serious about helping areas like ours prosper, then this is a great opportunity to provide Pendle and Lancashire with the chance to be considered for a brand new college at Brierfield Mills and provide our young people with a genuinely exciting opportunity.

“I would hope that the Government takes this offer seriously and bring real jobs to Pendle. It might be a long shot but if you don’t shout, you don’t get.”

Mr Cable said this week that investment in the controversial rail link between London and the North should also come with investment in the elite skills which will help build it.

He said the college would “train the next generation of engineers in rail, construction and environmental studies that this country needs to prosper”.

If the rail link goes ahead, the first phase betweeen London and Birmingham is due for completion in 2026.

 

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