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£1.1M government investment in tunnelling skills

The government is joining forces with industry to invest in tunnelling and underground construction skills.

The £1.1M government funding, announced by skills minister Nick Boles, will match £1.7M of industry investment for the benefit of current and future engineers.

The £2.8M boost will be used to create a legacy of engineering jobs and skills from major projects, including the Crossrail development.

The project brings together industry leaders, including Crossrail-linked employers, working on major tunnelling and underground construction projects.

Boles said: “Crossrail alone is supporting in the region of 55,000 jobs and with other major projects planned, we want to go even further to create a legacy for future generations and give the industry the skills it needs to dig deeper and further.

Resources will be focused on creating new routes into tunnelling jobs, as well as building the skills of current employees to provide the skilled workforce needed for major new projects. This includes 75 new apprenticeships to provide long-term careers and 20 specialist marine apprenticeships.

Funding will also be used to create a range of accredited courses to up-skill the tunnelling workforce, working with small sub-contractors and employees at all levels to train a total of 4,813 workers.

A new industry advisory panel (IAP) will also be created, representing all Crossrail-linked employers and future large tunnelling employers. The panel’s objective will be to identify ways to grow the industry.

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said: “The volume of tunnelling and underground construction work taking place in the UK over the next decade is unprecedented.

“Crossrail, in partnership with its principal contractors, has delivered the most significant injection of new skills in a generation.

“It is essential that we continue to grow the industry’s talent base to ensure Britain remains at the forefront of major infrastructure delivery.”

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