This week (Thursday 22 June) industry body, High Speed Industry Rail Leaders, of which Fusion are members, hosted their second summer conference in Birmingham.

The conference, how HS2 will transform regional economies, was delivered by a range of speakers, all invested in how HS2 will; connect people, communities, businesses and cities for the future.

In participation of the conference, Fusion sponsored professional illustrator, Juli Dosad, to capture messages from the speakers, in illustrative form. A large canvas was featured prominently on the stage, as delegates observed the progress of the illustrations being scribed live. Once completed the fully illustrated canvas was featured, for delegates to enjoy.

Feedback was positive, with many commenting on the power of illustrations, as a tool to engage, with those outside of the industry.

Overall the illustrations captured were themed around; the transformation of regional economies through regeneration, innovation and use of the latest techniques in construction, how the industry will attract a diverse and inclusive workforce and compete globally with a new world class railway.

Within Fusion the illustrations will be used as a means of taking industry themes and communicating them with a wide range of stakeholders. A commitment to changing perceptions of the industry.


Fusion took the challenge once again participating in this year’s Big Rail Diversity Challenge for the second time, an annual event organised by Women in Rail. The team were also joined by supply chain partners, Thomson Ecology, a commitment to developing a one team – one culture approach.

During the course of the day the gender-mixed team took part in mental and physical activities that included blindfolded land rover driving, a quad bike obstacle course, a bubble football match and crazy golf. Fusion competed alongside teams from HS2, parent company BAM Nuttall and others.

However behind the excitement and fun of these exhilarating challenges was a very important message: for the industry to continue raising the importance of inclusion and diversity within the workplace.

One in five rail engineers are aged 55 and over. This ageing workforce combined with the development of high speed rail leaves a growing skills gap within the rail industry. Inclusion and diversity enables the industry to widen its reach for talent, tackling acute skills shortages.

Attending the day, Sam Hewlings, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Fusion, said, “The Big Rail Diversity Challenge, unlike typical industry events, is centred around sports, games and team spirit.  Working in this way makes for inclusive team-building. All have a part to play and each individual has the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths and unique skills.

“The day to day behaviours of a typical working environment are removed.  Individuals are no longer identified as a role or by a set of characteristics but for the person they are; their abilities and talent. These are the behaviours we must take back to our organisations, encouraging the industry to continue to build on this all important issue.”


The new employer-led National College of High Speed Rail, will provide higher apprentice schemes, to tackle the acute skills shortage the UK has in rail infrastructure. The three year apprenticeships offered will include; operations and departmental management, civil engineering, track systems and systems engineering.

Apprentices attending the college will benefit from receiving industry and employer-led training giving them knowledge of the latest skills and techniques, delivered at the colleges brand new state of the art campuses, in Birmingham and Doncaster. Both campuses will see up to 1,300 apprentices trained each year, gaining much needed transferrable skills in order to hit the ground running in rail infrastructure.

With the first phase of HS2’s major civil works due to be awarded in the coming months, in response, the college will be opening its doors to the first of its alumni in September of this year. Creating the next generation of high speed rail engineers, for the largest investment in UK railways since the Victoria age.

Nissar Mohammed, project director at Fusion, said: “To be one of the first organisations to sign up our apprentices is yet another milestone in Fusion’s high speed rail journey. The college’s ambition, to provide highly skilled people and close the skills gap through our supply chain will be a lifeline for the industry. Particularly if the UK is to remain competitive in a global high speed rail market.”

It is up to infrastructure businesses like ourselves and the supply chain to work with the college to develop the next generation of rail engineers, the first alumni, trained by the industry for the industry through the college.”

Pictured are Claire Mowbray, Chief Executive, of the NCHSR and Nissar Mohammed from Fusion.


On 17 May,  Fusion hosted a visit from ICE President, Tim Broyd and his team, for his recent presidential tour in the West Midlands.

The president, who was visiting the Midlands for two days, meet with several organisations, to learn more about some of the essential infrastructure projects currently underway.

Fusion proved to be no exception and hosting a session for their work within HS2, Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

The visit consisted of Fusion presentations from; Mike Robins, Project Director for Main Works, Louise Townsend, Head of Socio-Economic Impact and Mike Franklin, Lead Planner.

Along with an overview of Fusion and HS2, discussions covered the essential works being delivered for Area Central, (Fusion’s enabling works contract) and Fusion’s efforts towards upskilling suppliers and attracting new talent to the industry.

ICE thanked Fusion for the visit and welcomed future opportunities to be further engaged in the communications of this ground-breaking project.

Pictured from left to right; Mike Robins, Mark Franklin, Yvonne Aust – ICE West Midlands Chair, Professor Tim Broyd – President, Louise Townsend and Paul Chambers – President’s Apprentices.


On the 3 May HS2 and the three enabling works contractors hosted a meet the supplier event in Birmingham.

Held at The Vox, near the NEC, HS2 along with the three enabling work contractors, including Fusion, met with a staggering number of over 700 suppliers on the day.

Proceedings kicked off with a presentation from HS2’s commercial director, Beth West. Followed by presentations from the three enabling work contractors. Representing Fusion for Area Central, project director Nissar Mohammed, talked through Fusion’s values, our culture of collaboration and the track record of Fusions’ three partner companies.

Following the presentations, suppliers had the opportunity to take part in; 1-2-1 meeting opportunities, networking, visit the innovation hub and participate in BIM upskilling workshops.

For Fusion, the day was an opportunity to signpost suppliers to CompeteFor, a free service connecting businesses to the available HS2 procurement opportunities, and expand on the available opportunities and activities to be undertaken within area central.

Alan Harris, supply chain manager at Fusion, commented; “In total we had roughly 20 representatives from Fusion, so suppliers could reach someone from within the Fusion. We have a responsibility to understand the upskilling requirements of our supply chain, so we tailored our conversations around these requirements.

The coming months will inevitably be busy but we hope to signpost our suppliers to the correct procurement path and engage early on.”

Pictured are the speakers from HS2, Fusion, LM JV and CS JV


Following Royal Assent on February 23, work has now started for Fusion. With initial works including  both intrusive and non-intrusive archaeology, ecology and engineering surveys. Works were commenced on March 20, a date which will resonate as a significant milestone for Fusion’s high speed rail legacy.

In total a team of up to 100 surveyors and contractors, instructed by specialist consulting group Temple and AECOM, are tasked with completing the seasonal critical ecological surveys by the end of July, across the 102km stretch of Area Central.

In addition to this early survey works, design has commenced on 34 ecological mitigation sites which are to be constructed this summer.  Next year, after the sites have matured, fauna will be cleared from the HS2 mainline and re-homed in these new habitat areas

These initial works are the first of many activities. Preparatory works over the coming months will be vast, with numbers expected to reach a total of some 200 people working along the central route.

Additionally, the archaeological programme included within this preparatory activity is expected to be the largest ever undertaken in the history of Britain.

Nissar Mohammed project director at Fusion commented; ‘I would personally like to extend a thank you to everyone who was involved in the mobilisation and Fusion’s readiness for this inaugural date. Health, safety and wellbeing remained at the very top of our priority, with safety inductions, being undertaken in good time.’


Today, (23 February 2017) Royal Assent was granted for Phase 1 of HS2 and High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL) of which Fusion are partners, welcomed apprentices from across the UK with Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP to say ‘We’re HS2 ready!’

 

At Euston Station, Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP joined over 40 apprentices from HSRIL members who will help deliver HS2 in a wide range of roles from project management and civil engineering, through to railway systems and rolling stock.

 

Up to 9,000 apprenticeships for HS2 Phase 1 alone will be created, in order to support the  build of this ground-breaking project.

 

HS2 will be the biggest investment in our skills base in decades and will foster a new generation of high speed rail engineers and experts across a range of sectors, including the launch of the National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham and Doncaster, where the first students will enrol in September 2017.

 

A HSRIL spokesperson said: “We are delighted the first phase of HS2 has received Royal Assent. Our HSIRL members can get on and start building Britain’s new railway. The apprentices who joined us at Euston are just a small part of the workforce that will be skilled up to deliver HS2.

 

The project will act as a huge economic boost to Britain, employing 27,000 people by the end of the decade. On top of that, 70% of the jobs will be outside of London.”

 

Please is Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP with apprentices from the member organisations of HSRIL outside Euston Station.


Fusion has been awarded the Central package of HS2’s three enabling works contracts, (South, Central and North). Along with international expertise from the parent companies,  Amey, (a subsidiary wholly owned by Ferrovial) will also be supporting Fusion with delivery of the contract.

Operational site works for the Central package will commence early 2017. For which, Fusion will deliver the essential preparatory grounds works, before the main construction programme. The scope of activity will range from ecology and environmental works, demolition, archaeology, utility diversions and highway realignments.

Nissar Mohammed, enabling works project director at Fusion said; “Fusion is delighted with the news, and the opportunity to work in collaboration with HS2. Through the enabling works we are intent on expanding our stakeholder reach. From the very start of our journey we will look to build  dialogue with local communities. Understanding and addressing their needs and concern as the momentum of work develops. Additionally we will also be looking to collaborate with local delivery partners and SME’s and work with these organisations in partnership alongside our existing strategic partners and supply chain.

“The scope and longevity of this project will prove to be the vital catalyst needed for transformation within the industry, as we look to attract new talent, innovation and embrace digital integration across our operations.”

Roger Robinson, Fusion’s independent chairman, commented; “Between the joint venture partners, we have built significant elements of high speed rail in Europe and we are keen to see the UK pick up the baton. For most, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity, which we must ensure is accessible to all. I am confident that the team at Fusion will deploy the necessary programmes to create jobs, training and educational opportunities along the route. Building a world class 21st century infrastructure project that is inclusive for us all.”


At this years, World Skills Show, Fusion took to the stage and delivered a powerful message on a career in engineering. How no two careers are ever the same.

The event, organised by the internationally recognised and celebrated, World Skills UK was held over three days, at Birmingham’s NEC. Over 78,000 attended, mostly aged between 11 – 18 supported by schools, colleges, employers and partnering organisations.

From Fusion, a team of four, headed by learning and development manager, Paul Skerry, engaged with the young audience on what to expect in a career in engineering.

The team delivered a Q&A style panel discussion, chaired by Paul, on the day; Shervin Dehbozorgi from Morgan Sindall, Sally Marsden from Ferrovial Agroman and Jennie Holloway from BAM Nuttall all took part in the Q&A.  All three represented the parent companies that make up Fusion, and each gave a passionate account of their career journey and how they came to join the industry.

The purpose of the Q&A was to provide a relaxed informal setting, where members of the audience could also ask any questions and join the conversation. Up first, was Shervin who talked about his career in digital, and although Shervin originally started his career in X, he later joined Morgan Sindall, using his digital expertise in engineering.

Next was Sally, who talked about how a casual dinner with family friends led to a serious debate, and the question, well how would you do things differently? Undeterred, Sally started a career in engineering. Now working as environmental advisor, Sally talked through how her career, which although originally started out in Australia, led to a life changing move to the UK.

Jenny was last up and talked through her journey as an apprentice and the degree of apprenticeship opportunities that are available within the industry. A journey that proved valuable, as Jenny was able to combine her studies with on the job learning.

The fundamental message was that no two careers are ever the same, not only are there differing entry points into the industry, there are also emerging roles such as digital, so the magnitude of opportunities available is limitless.