Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today announced details of his planned Crossrail Tunnelling Academy, which will provide up to 1,000 Londoners with the chance to gain qualifications in a variety of roles essential to the £16bn project.
The Academy, which will be created through a partnership between Crossrail and the construction industry, is planned to open in Spring 2010. The academy, for which Crossrail is currently in discussions with Newham on its preferred site, is expected to train some 1,000 people between now and 2015, providing the skills necessary for work in a variety of tunnelling roles.
Johnson is investing £8M in the project, which he hopes will help deliver the skilled workforce needed for the construction of Crossrail, Europe’s largest transport infrastructure project, which at its peak will employ some 14,000 people and will provide a crucial boost for London’s economy. Another 7,000 jobs will be supported indirectly through related services such as manufacturing equipment for the project. The vast majority of these jobs will be undertaken by people in London and the UK, particularly those living in boroughs along the Crossrail route which are some of the most deprived in the UK, and creating a lasting skills legacy for London.
Johnson said: “Like every city, ours is grappling with effects of the global downturn, but with Crossrail construction starting shortly, and Transport for London’s multi-billion pound modernisation of the Tube ramping up, engineering can provide a huge and vital economic boost and help London become the true engineering capital of Europe.
“I want to make sure that Londoners benefit from the opportunities that this scale of work - not seen in the south east for 50 years - can offer. That’s why, across the Greater London Authority group, we are cultivating hundreds of apprentices, working to spark young people’s interest in engineering, and are investing £8M in the Tunnelling Academy, which will give many hundreds the skills necessary to be a part of the exciting and rewarding work of building London’s long-awaited Crossrail.”
The Academy sits alongside further work from Transport for London and Crossrail to boost skills and ensure that Londoners capitalise on the opportunities to be created by Crossrail and other construction.
Transport for London has now published its ten-year Skills and Employment Strategy, which focuses on creating and retaining the skills and people needed to deliver ’s Transport for London multi billion pound investment programme.
The strategy has a range of initiatives already underway, with 800 adults and young people coming through Transport for London apprenticeship schemes a year as part of the mayor’s overall target of 1,000 new apprenticeships across the Greater London Authority group. Over 75 engineering ambassadors are engaged in out-reach work with schools, as is Crossrail through its ‘Young Crossrail’ work, which encourages young people to pursue jobs in engineering and construction.
Transport for London commissioner Peter Hendy said: “Addressing our need for skilled workers of all levels now and in the future is critical to the delivery of a multi billion pound investment in projects such as the upgrade of the Tube and Crossrail.
“By investing in London’s skills now, Transport for London is playing a key part in the mayor’s Economic Recovery Plan and is supporting the economic and social regeneration of our local communities through employment and training opportunities.”