Work is set to start on a new academy that will give young people the skills and training needed to work on the Crossrail project.
The new Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) in east London will use Crossrail, Europe’s largest transport infrastructure project, to offer training to at least 3,500 people in underground construction.
At its peak, Crossrail is likely to employ around 14,000 people. The TUCA aims to address the shortage of people with the necessary skills to work on Crossrail and other tunnelling projects across the UK.
TUCA will start to offer training in spring 2011 and the building, to be built by VolkerFitzpatrick, will be fully open by summer 2011.
Training at the academy will include National Vocational Qualifications such as NVQ Level 2 in Tunnelling Operations and course content for this is currently being developed.
Crossrail tunnelling activity will get underway in late 2011. In just over one year from now the first tunnel boring machines will begin their journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon. This will be followed shortly by the launch of further tunnel boring machines in Docklands that will head towards Farringdon under central London.
Teams of dedicated construction workers will be working 24 hours a day to complete the tunnels with thousands of others employed to upgrade the existing rail network and build major new stations along the central section of the route.
Aside from Crossrail, Thames Water will be constructing the Thames Tideway Tunnel sewerage scheme while National Grid will be constructing new electricity cable tunnels under London.
While the UK has tunnelling expertise and knowledge, there is no purpose-built training facility in the UK to act as a focal point for the industry. Currently the nearest tunnelling and underground training centre is in Switzerland.