Crossrail jobs bonanza for East London

A BONANZA of jobs has been pledged with four major tunnelling contracts announced by Crossrail.

Many of them will go to the jobless in East London following a lobby of Parliament by Tower Hamlets council.

As many as 14,000 people could be working on Crossrail within four years as construction on tunnels, tracks and stations reaches its zenith.

The details were revealed at Crossrail’s Canary Wharf HQ on Friday with the announcement of four major contracts—including two in East London—just a sample of 150 contracts coming out of London’s �15 billion ‘super tube’ link to Heathrow Airport.

“These are going to be London jobs,” said Crossrail’s Corporate Affairs director Clinton Leeks. “Building Crossrail is going to be a massive employment opportunity.

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“There will be 3,000 jobs when these contracts get under way, with a priority for the unemployed through local jobcentres.

“We are setting up a training academy in East London in the summer for skills in tunnel engineering and will eventually train 3,500 people. By 2013 there will be 14,000 working on Crossrail.”

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The jobs pledge comes in Parliamentary undertakings following lobbying by community organisations in an intense ‘legacy’ campaign led by Tower Hamlets council three years ago.

This resulted in a recruitment office being set up at Whitechapel Ideas Store with sessions three days a week.

“We’re committed to 750 Parliamentary undertakings,” Mr Leeks told the Advertiser. “Tower Hamlets council lobbied for more undertakings than any other local authority along the proposed route. They drove the debate.”

The training academy being set up by Crossrail next summer at Newbury Park, near Ilford, is set to offer qualifications in tunnelling techniques and other skills. The bulk of the workforce will be recruited through the academy. The only other ‘tunnelling’ training centre in Europe is in Switzerland.

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