Frequently asked questions

What is happening on 1 October 2019?

On 1 October 2019, the National College for High Speed Rail will become the ‘National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure’.

Why the change?

In 2014, the Government announced that it would be opening up to five national colleges to tackle specific skills shortages. The National College for High Speed Rail was established to respond to the new skills needed (specifically higher level technical skills at Levels 4 and 5) for the HS2 programme and on rail modernisation/ infrastructure programmes across the country. We opened our doors in autumn 2017 at two new campuses in Birmingham City Centre (close to Aston University and BCU) and in Doncaster (Lakeside area). We established unprecedented support from industry bodies and employers who pledged their time and resources to us. This enabled us to have the very best specialist kit and equipment available for learners; to have industry experts speak to learners and bring rail and engineering concepts to life; and to have ongoing support to develop our curriculum to meet industry needs. We also began running our full-time HE course (High Speed Rail and Infrastructure) and a niche range of apprenticeships – High Speed Rail and Infrastructure Technician, Operations/ Departmental Manager and Associate Project Manager. The change follows extensive consultation earlier this year with the College’s stakeholders, including learners, staff, employers and representatives from across the industry, to ensure that the College’s name represents and reflects the wide offering available across our Birmingham and Doncaster sites. Across both the transport and infrastructure sectors, the use of modern techniques, digitalisation and the latest technology is becoming more prevalent, with a growing demand from industry for a workforce with highly technical skills, which the College is ideally placed to deliver. The nature of the work across the sectors is changing, and our new name reflects the great opportunity available within the industry. The name change is about reflecting our broad our appeal, reflecting the reality that most of what we do has much wider relevance than high speed rail and infrastructure.

How can the College just change its name?

It can’t. Once we decided that we should change our name to open up the market and be recognised for what we actually do, we had to consult with a broad range of stakeholders to ask them if they supported the change. This is a Department for Education prescribed process. We received over 100 responses from our stakeholders – from membership bodies and political organisations, to staff, learners, employers and industry representatives (and the emergency services).  Over two thirds of respondents were in full support of the change. In addition, the activity identified stakeholders who wanted to help us shape our curriculum further. After applying to the Department of Education with our evidence, we received the positive news at the end of July that they approved the name change.

When did the College formally change its name?

The College Corporation was renamed ‘The Corporation of the National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure’ on 1 August 2019.

Why not announce the change then?

We made a conscious decision to introduce the new name in the new academic year.

What does the name mean?

We were set up by the Department for Education as a ‘National College’ and that part of our name has to remain. ‘Advanced Transport & Infrastructure’ reflects our education and training delivery at highertechnical level in transport (including rail and high-speed rail) and for other major UK infrastructure projects.

How is the curriculum changing?

Since we opened, our curriculum has been mainly based around Level 4 and 5 higher technical skills and this position isn’t changing. We also continue to offer a small Access to Higher Education (Engineering) provision at Level 3, which leads to our Level 4 programmes. We are shaping our curriculum to have a broader appeal and are looking to develop our HE suite of courses to be focused on rail and rail systems. Our offer is more than ‘High Speed Rail’. In addition to our High Speed Rail and Infrastructure programmes, we also offer Rail and Rail Systems apprenticeships up to Level 6; the Operations/ Departmental Manager apprenticeship, Train Driver apprenticeship and the Associate Project Manager apprenticeship. These courses are geared to address specific skills gaps. In January we are launching a new Information Manager (BIM) apprenticeship in London with our partners at Bentley Systems and we are also developing our suite of shorter CPD courses. We are working with industry to develop these themes further.

What is the College’s position on HS2?

We are fully supportive of the HS2 programme. We believe it will create a unique skills legacy for the country from which the UK will benefit for years to come. Under our new brand, we are introducing ‘centres of excellence’, of which ‘High Speed Rail’ will be one. This means we are continuing to talk about HS2 and high-speed rail, as well as the role we will play in ensuring there is a talent pipeline being prepared to work on the project and in the supply chain. We are also independent of HS2 and the name change will help to create that distinction.

How much was the rebrand?

The rebrand activity has been done at very low cost. No external brand consultants have been used to do the work. A small agency created the visual concept and idea. The new logo takes inspiration from both our building design and the legacy of the previous logo.

What does the logo mean?

The logo icon is a reference to the design of the Doncaster Campus building. It represents a new era for the College – but retains a clear connection with the NCHSR brand by retaining styling features such as the ‘speed lines’ and the gradient shading. The existing colour palette used for NCHSR will also be used with the new logo – we believe the vibrancy of these colours are still suitable as we transition to our new name. The subtle use of the ‘speed lines’ means the College will not be left with legacy design features in the buildings that no longer have a meaning. The ‘speed lines’ feature heavily on windows, on the reception desks, on building signage and on the digital screen frames.

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