The HS2 high speed rail project will have employed 27,000 people by the end of the decade, according to a new study.
Two-thirds of these roles will be in construction of the railway with the rest consisting of designers and management roles, said a report published by coalition of experts High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL).
The research found that HS2’s phase one - which will run between London and the West Midlands - will support between 5,000 and 9,000 apprenticeships.
HSRIL director Henrik Anderberg said: “The HS2 jobs bonanza is not something for the dim and distant future.
“It is starting now and by the end of the decade the project will have employed some 27,000 people, making it by far-and-away the biggest single source of new jobs in the UK infrastructure sector.”
He added that the benefits will be nationwide with around 70% of new employment being created outside London.
Transport minister Andrew Jones commented: “HS2 will be the new backbone of our national rail network that will help build an economy that works for all.
“This is a vital project that will deliver a step change in capacity on our rail networks, reducing journey times and unlocking regeneration across our country.
“I welcome this report, which makes clear that HS2 will create thousands of jobs and apprenticeships and will boost industry and skills across Britain as we better connect our cities.”
Alison Munro, managing director of development at HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for building the £55.7 billion railway, claimed the report underlines the “once in a lifetime opportunity” that the project offers to create and sustain jobs, improve skills and increase productivity.
She added: “When you also consider the jobs which will result from the regeneration already being planned, especially across the Midlands and the North, you begin to see the transformational impact HS2 will have to Britain.”
Last week MPs warned that ministers must set out a realistic timetable for delivering HS2.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was “not convinced” that the target for completing phase 1 by December 2026 will be met.
HS2 Ltd has been asked by the Department for Transport (DfT) to asses the impact of delaying the opening until December 2027.
The report by the PAC warned that cost estimates for phase 2 - taking the line to Crewe (2a) and to Manchester and Leeds (2b) - are “still volatile” and exceed available funding by £7 billion.
It expressed doubts that proposed savings of £9 billion can be made without adversely affecting the benefits of the programme.
The DfT responded to the report by insisting that the rail project is on time and on budget.