TUCA welcomes first students as phased opening gets underway
UK’s first dedicated tunnelling and underground training facility to be fully open by early 2012
Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy to offer training to at least 3,500 people over the lifetime of the Crossrail project
Further industry sponsorship agreement finalised
The £13m Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) has welcomed its first students.
The first training courses to be offered at the Academy include the Tunnel Safety Card, pre-requisite for anyone who will work below ground on Crossrail, and Construction Skills Certification Scheme health and safety card training. Vocational courses initially on offer are pre-cast concrete manufacture and tunnel operations training.
Between now and the end of the year, a variety of other vocational training courses will begin to be offered, increasing the number of students attending the new campus.
Work to install tunnelling plant and machinery in the major vocational training areas, including a static tunnel boring machine and a simulated tunnel environment, will complete by the end of the year. This will allow students to gain experience in the practical skills required for underground construction.
By early 2012, the Academy will be fully open for business with the full curriculum in delivery and the vocational training areas operational. Up to 150 students will be attending courses offered through the Academy at any one time.
Located at Ilford in east London, TUCA aims to address the shortage of people with the necessary skills to work on Crossrail and other tunnelling projects in London and the UK. It also has the potential to assist European projects.
The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy will offer training to at least 3,500 people over the lifetime of the Crossrail project alone. The only other dedicated tunnelling training facility in Europe is located in Switzerland.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “I am a huge supporter of the aims of this academy and I am thrilled that it is now enrolling its first students. At the height of construction many thousands of people will be working on Crossrail and it will provide a huge economic boost to the capital. Our new academy in east London will be a vital resource and Crossrail is working closely with job centres along the route to ensure as many local people as possible are able to learn the skills necessary to play a part in the largest construction project in the southeast for 50 years.”
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “Investing in this Academy further emphasises Government’s commitment to rebalancing our economy and promoting the skills our young people need to help Britain compete in the world.
“This Academy’s legacy will be a new generation of specialists able to help deliver important infrastructure projects to support growth here and anywhere across the globe.”
Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman said: “Crossrail is gearing up for the start of tunnelling next spring and we have now commenced specialist training for the first of many thousands who will work on the project. The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy will have a critical role to play in equipping people, particularly those from along the Crossrail route, with the necessary training and skills to work below ground. The Academy will not only act as a centre of excellence for tunnelling and underground construction in the UK but also for European tunnelling projects longer-term.”
TUCA students will be made up of new entrants to the industry as well as Crossrail’s contractors’ existing workforces. Those already working in the industry can up-skill or formalise their knowledge through nationally accredited technical and safety training including apprenticeships, NVQs and other programmes.
TUCA is a large structure, approximately 100 metres long, 36 metres wide and 12 metres high. The total size of the Academy extends to 3,600 sq. metres.
Facilities will replicate the key areas of a fully-automated tunnelling project. These will include a simulated tunnel boring machine environment, supported by a TBM backup area, with a loco and narrow gauge railway to the rear. There will be a separate chamber for Sprayed Concrete operations in addition to a large underground construction workshop. TUCA will also have four teaching rooms, a test centre for online safety tests, a large refectory and a Learning Resource Centre.
An Industry Advisory Panel, comprising representatives from client and contractor organisations involved in underground construction, will ensure the training on offer at TUCA is world-class and responsive to the needs of industry. The Panel will include representatives of Thames Water and National Grid.
Crossrail also announced a further sponsorship deal for the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy. BASF Meyco Equipment are to donate plant and construction supplies worth £600,000.
BASF Meyco Equipment joins National Grid, Interocean Personnel Services and New Civil Engineer magazine who have already signed-up to support the Academy. Further sponsorship deals are currently being finalised with the construction industry including key Crossrail suppliers.
Terry Morgan continued: “I’m delighted we have secured this major industry commitment towards the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy. This donation of plant and machinery will provide students with the opportunity to gain first-hand practical experience of working with tunnelling equipment. The Academy will be a major UK training facility for the construction industry that will not only support Crossrail but also other infrastructure projects. TUCA has been built by the construction industry to specifically meet its future needs.”
In addition to the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy, Crossrail has committed to delivering at least 400 apprentices through its supply chain over the lifetime of the project. The first 20 apprentices are now employed on Crossrail and this number will increase as intensive station construction and tunnelling gets underway.
Crossrail is also working with Jobcentre Plus (JCP) to provide local people with opportunities to work on the Crossrail project. Jobcentre Plus works with a network of local job brokerage and outreach agencies to match vacancies to suitable candidates and arrange interviews for short-listed applicants.
Contractors are obliged to send all employment opportunities to the job brokerage service 48 hours before they advertise them elsewhere. This gives the team an early opportunity to put forward job-ready candidates from the local area.
For further information contact:
Crossrail Press Office on 0203 229 9552 or email email@example.com
Notes to Editors
Crossrail intends to undertake media visits to the Academy from late October to coincide with intensive installation of plant and equipment to the vocational training areas. Further information will be issued in due course.
Crossrail is overseeing the development of the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy and will invest up to £7.5m, while £5m in funding has been provided by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills via the Skills Funding Agency. Further sponsorship has been provided by industry and more is pledged.
The building was designed by architects Capita Symonds and was constructed by VolkerFitzpatrick.
The Tunnel Safety Card is a specialist unit of the nationally recognised Construction Skills Health and Safety test.
The training offered at TUCA will include:
- Pre-employment training to help local people access construction jobs;
- Tunnel Safety Card (mandatory requirement for Crossrail);
- NVQ Level 2 Tunnel Operations (mandatory requirement for Crossrail);
- NVQ Level 3 Supervisory Management;
- Working at heights and in confined spaces;
- Construction Plant Competence Scheme loco driver training;
- ConstructionSkills Health and Safety Test;
- Sprayed concrete applications;
- Laboratory Technician training in materials testing; and
- Apprenticeships in a range of tunnelling and construction related occupations.
A dedicated website for the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy - www.tuca.ac.uk - contains further information about TUCA’s training programmes and facilities.
The Academy will eventually operate as an independent organisation and will become a long-term provider of underground construction skills for other major infrastructure projects. The Academy will also act as the London centre for the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE).
Crossrail will run 118 km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 45 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts.
Up to 14,000 people will be employed at the peak of construction in 2013/2015.
Crossrail is being delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.
This story was published on Monday 10th October 2011