The Operator Skills Hub, a year in development, expects to deliver the first Trailblazer plant operative apprentices in 2021, with 30 young people in its first year.
The purpose-built facility will also deliver refresher and supplementary courses to experienced operators.
The centre will use simulators as well as semi-autonomous vehicles to prepare plant operators and apprentices for digitally-enabled construction sites.
Andy Ormerod, managing director of Balfour Beatty’s Plant & Fleet Services business, said: “With real and growing skills shortages across our industry, inspiring young people has never been more important. Our new Operator Skills Hub provides a unique offering – one that will revolutionise the way in which we upskill plant operators and equip them with modern, digitally enhanced tools to support a safer, more productive construction and infrastructure industry.
“Over the last year, we have been proud to partner with Flannery and collaborate with our peers, valued supply chain partners and local communities in order to create this truly immersive and exciting educational experience; providing a central resource to benefit major construction and infrastructure projects, such as HS2.”
Flannery Plant Hire managing director Patrick Flannery said: “As one of the largest providers of operated plant in the UK it is imperative that we are able to provide a consistent, quality training experience for operators. It is clear that as the industry continues to adopt and drive innovation, we have to engage operators, helping to retain our industries best talent and ensuring they have the tools to deliver value on-site.
“This purpose-built facility reflects our vibrant and evolving industry and seeing the first intake of the new Trailblazer plant operator apprentices starting their careers here is hugely exciting.”