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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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Still time to sign up apprentices for High Speed Rail college

Businesses are being urged to act quickly to sign up their talented employees for the last remaining spaces on the National College for High Speed Rail’s higher apprenticeship scheme.

Several businesses have already committed to sending their apprentices to the college, which opens in September. These include the Fusion joint venture (Morgan Sindall, BAM and Ferrovial), which has been awarded the central package of HS2’s enabling works contracts.

“As a ground-breaking institution, we want businesses to send us their brightest and best to help us create a workforce ready for the 21st century,” said Chief Executive of the college Clair Mowbray.

“Our first intake of apprentices will be the pioneers of high-speed rail in the UK. These apprentices will be ambassadors for Europe’s largest infrastructure project and testament to the bright future for the rail industry in Britain.

“Our apprenticeship programme will provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate the skills of these talented engineers and designers and the businesses they work for, providing us with a shop window to showcase British expertise in rail to the rest of the world.”

Mowbray is keen to dispel the belief that the college is oversubscribed, because places are still available if businesses act fast.

She added: “We’re also keen to hear from businesses with apprenticeship vacancies, so we can support them to advertise their vacancies and potentially match them with the talent pool who have applied directly to the college.”

The college, which has campuses in both Doncaster and Birmingham, will train up to 1,300 new rail employees every year. They will have the transferable skills necessary to be part of effective rail and infrastructure teams.

As well as the first intake of apprentices in September, the college is also offering places for courses starting in January and May 2018.

When it opens in September the college will offer apprenticeships in:

  • Operations and Departmental Management - project management, leadership and management, communication, organisational performance and finance.
  • Civil Engineering - designing, planning, co-ordinating and supervising infrastructure works, as well as tendering, modelling, logistics and surveying for both on-site and off-site construction.
  • Track Systems - designing, planning, construction, monitoring, inspection, maintenance and repair of conventional and high speed rail track.
  • Systems Engineering - engineering to manage the entire lifecycle of a project from conception to completion, systems architecture, hardware, software and interfaces.

Clair Mowbray will speak about the importance of the new college at RAIL's National Rail Conference on June 15. To find out more and book your delegate place, visit

PICTURE: Fusion Project Director Nissar Mohammed signs up the joint venture’s apprentices to courses at the National College for High Speed Rail, with Chief Executive Clair Mowbray. NCHSR.

More information on the apprenticeships on offer is available at

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