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Crossrail sets standard for attracting out of work into apprenticeships

By Steve Kennedy

Crossrail sets standard for attracting out of work into apprenticeships
  • Almost half of Crossrail apprentices were not employed when securing their job, compared to 23% of apprentices across the UK
  • More than 800 out of work jobseekers have secured jobs on Crossrail
  • Crossrail’s successful apprenticeship programme could be rolled out to future infrastructure projects and other sectors
  • Crossrail Minister Stephen Hammond meets new Crossrail apprentices

Almost one in two Crossrail apprenticeships (44%) has been filled by people that were identified as being not in work, a success rate that is almost double the UK wide average.

The new figures have been released during National Apprenticeship Week as Crossrail Minister Stephen Hammond visited Crossrail’s Whitechapel station construction sites to meet some of the 283 apprentices working on the project, including Crossrail’s Apprentice of the Year, Rudy Nieddu.

Crossrail in partnership with its principal contractors has delivered the most significant injection of new skills into UK tunnelling and underground construction in a generation.

Crossrail’s highly effective recruitment approach is helping provide a new direction for the construction and tunnelling sector and could be replicated across other sectors of the economy to help address the large number of young people not in employment.

Crossrail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “Crossrail continues to set the benchmark for apprenticeships and is a shining example of our determination to invest in young people. Not only are we transforming the transport network through record levels of investment, we are creating a legacy of skilled workers who will keep Britain at the forefront of the global race for years to come. This is further proof that our long term economic strategy is on track, creating jobs and making a real difference to people’s lives.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It’s fantastic news that Crossrail’s apprenticeship scheme is creating so many job opportunities for out of work young Londoners.  Apprenticeships are win-win for the capital’s businesses, creating a talented and eager workforce that exactly matches the skills that industries need and giving young people the chance to get their first steps on the career ladder. That is why I committed to dramatically increasing the number of apprenticeships in the capital and have invested over £2.5m in schemes over the last two years. I urge all London’s firms to follow Crossrail’s lead and take on an apprentice.”

Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan CBE said: “Crossrail has succeeded in nearly doubling the UK average for filling its apprenticeships with people not in work. This is a significant achievement delivered by taking a different approach to apprenticeships. We are targeting unemployed people, providing pre-employment training and making sure that jobs are advertised externally through the National Apprenticeship Service and other routes rather than relying on word of mouth. With one in seven young people unemployed in the UK, there is significant opportunity for other sectors and industries to adopt a similar approach to attract new skills, while providing employment for those not in work.”

Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground and London Rail said: “Apprentices are playing a key role in the modernisation and improvement of our transport network.  As we continue to invest billions of pounds in transport to meet the needs of London’s growing population to support jobs, homes and economic growth, it is vital that we retain and train highly skilled and motivated staff to help us deliver a world class transport network.”

Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice Rudy Nieddu,28, from Forest Hill was yesterday (3 March) named Crossrail Apprentice of Year.

Rudy Nieddu said: “I’d experienced long periods without work while an electrical labourer. I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out I’d been accepted onto an apprenticeship with Crossrail. To start my career on career on Europe’s largest infrastructure project is brilliant. This role gives me stability and allows me to start planning ahead.”

Beyond apprenticeships, more than 800 unemployed jobseekers have secured jobs on Crossrail.

EngineeringUK estimates that 1.8 million additional engineering jobs will be created by 2020. In order to meet the demand for skills, the sector needs to triple the number of apprenticeships on offer per-year to 69,000.

Crossrail has sought to attract new talent to the industry and open up opportunities to a broader pool of workers by:

  • Working with its contractors, Crossrail requires all new jobs to be advertised externally and through Jobcentre Plus
  • Providing training to more than 1,600 unemployed jobseekers at the industry-leading Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), allowing them to gain basic construction qualifications
  • Providing meet the contractor days where trainees can meet Crossrail contractors and hear about the latest jobs
  • Working with contractors to engage local unemployment groups near construction sites to provide advice and exposure to Crossrail jobs
  • Crossrail and its contractors visiting schools to promote the diverse career opportunities in the infrastructure, tunnelling and construction sectors.

Crossrail is on track to deliver its target of at least 400 apprenticeships during the construction of the new railway.

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When Crossrail opens it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city. Crossrail services are due to commence through central London in 2018. It will serve 38 stations, connecting Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via central London.




For further information contact the Crossrail Press Office on 020 3229 9552 or email [email protected]

Notes to editors:

OECD research shows that with emerging economies that are vigorously and aggressively training people to a high standard to take roles in any part of the world – UK construction and engineering sector needs to keep pace.

Many of Crossrail’s those apprentices have trained at the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy at Ilford which opened in 2011 and is the only training academy of its type in Europe.

44% of Crossrail apprentices identified as being not in employment when securing their apprenticeship, however they ranged from recently completing education or training to those out of work for more than 12 months.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills research found that over two-thirds (68%) of apprentices were ‘internal recruits’ and 32% were new recruited. New recruits were either in employment with another employer (29%) or in school or college (51%) prior to starting their apprenticeship. One in six (16%) were unemployed with 1% looking after their family or home or doing something else (3%), resulting in 22.7% of all apprentices not being employed at the time of securing their apprenticeship. Source: Apprenticeship Evaluation- Learners, 2013

About Crossrail

The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn. The Crossrail route will pass through 38 stations and run more than 100 km (62 miles) from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km (13 miles) tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

When Crossrail opens it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city. Crossrail services are due to commence through central London in 2018.

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.