1,000 trainees dig their way through Crossrail’s tunnel academy courses

The first 1,000 engineering trainees have now completed courses at east London’s unique ‘school for tunnelling’ set up to fill the gap for skilled workers when the Crossrail project got under way.

The Tunneling & Underground Construction Academy opened in Ilford last September after work on London’s �14 billion new ‘super tube’ started.

Its facilities replicate a fully-automated tunnelling project in a simulated environment, with giant sprayed concrete lining equipment and loco-driver training. An expanded curriculum has since been introduced with new courses and facilities including a high-tech concrete testing lab.

The academy aims to train 3,500 people in tunnel construction before Crossrail is completed in 2018. It will remain for other projects when Crossrail construction finishes in six years’ time.