The companies are meeting with the college in Doncaster on November 30 to discuss the development of a Global High Speed Rail Learning Programme. Their vision is to provide a pathway for apprentices to study at degree level, which could include placements at the company’s facilities in Italy, Japan, Germany, Sweden and Britain. The pathway would be open to NCHSR students as well as Bombardier and Hitachi recruits.

“This exciting global scheme offers young people a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity,” says Ms Karen Boswell, managing director at Hitachi Rail. “We want to bring in and nurture new talent that will support the high-speed rail industry, both here at home, and for export.”

The companies say they plan to expand their graduate and apprentice schemes, with a particular emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and are aiming to attract the very best talent to work on the HS2 project delivery teams.

The HS2 rolling stock contract for 54 trains estimated to be worth £2.7bn will be awarded in 2020. Hitachi-Bombardier are competing with Alstom, Siemens, CAF and Talgo for the contract.