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Prime Minister meets Crossrail apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week

By Tom Lawson

Prime Minister meets Crossrail apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week

On Tuesday 7 February Prime Minister David Cameron visited the new £13m Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) in east London as part of National Apprenticeship Week to meet apprentices working on the Crossrail project.

TUCA, a purpose-built academy built by Crossrail to train people in working in tunnel excavation, underground construction and infrastructure, opened its doors in September.

Facilities include a tunnel mock-up and a Spray Concrete Lining workshop, allowing students to gain experience in the practical skills required for underground construction. TUCA students are made up of new entrants to the industry as well as Crossrail’s contractors’ existing workforces.

Over 70 Apprentices are now employed on Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Apprenticeships are offered through the supply chain as contracts are awarded with numbers expected to rise further with the start of major tunnelling activity next month.

Thousands of people will be employed in building Crossrail at the height of construction in 2013-15. Further jobs will be supported through the supply chain in London and in regionally-based manufacturers and suppliers.

Located at Ilford in east London, TUCA aims to address the shortage of people with the necessary skills to work on Crossrail and other tunnelling projects in London and the UK. TUCA will offer training to at least 3,500 people over the lifetime of the project.

TUCA will not only ensure that Crossrail has the skills needed for its construction but will be retained post-Crossrail as a specialist training centre for other tunnelling projects.

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