The new National College for High Speed Rail has appointed a director from travel company First Group to be its first chief executive.
The college, which will operate sites in Birmingham and Doncaster, will be a training academy for engineers to work in the rail industry and help to serve the new HS2 line from London to the city.
John Evans was previously group HR director at First Group and has 25 years of experience in marketing and HR, with previous roles at Strathclyde Police, Guinness producer Diageo and British Airways.
As chief executive of the college, he will take responsibility for the development of the institute in terms of shaping the curriculum, college design and liaison with stakeholders including employers.
Designs for the new college were unveiled earlier this month at the launch of a public consultation into the development proposed for Birmingham Science Park Aston.
Chairman of the college's board Terry Morgan said: "John represents a hugely important addition to the National College for High Speed Rail and I'm extremely pleased to welcome him to the team.
"His commitment and passion for people development will be vital as we move closer to opening the college in two years' time.
"The college has a unique opportunity to ensure that the skills needed to support the delivery of HS2 are in place and able to respond to other infrastructure projects in future."
Mr Evans added: "I am delighted to be joining the college at an exciting and pivotal point in its development. The opportunity to be involved in shaping the college is a huge professional and personal incentive for me.
"I am passionate about the development of young engineering and other talent and I believe it to be critical to building the UK's future workforce.
"I am really looking forward to playing a key role in developing the college which will contribute hugely to the delivery of HS2."
Outgoing leader of Birmingham City Council Sir Albert Bore said designs for the new college had been "really well received" and the project was on track to begin construction in April ahead of a planned opening in September 2017.