The government announced a £1.1m investment in major infrastructure projects to create “job legacy” for engineers and close the skills gap.
The funding, provided by the government, will match £1.7m of industry investment from tunnelling and underground construction projects including the Crossrail development.
“Our investment in major infrastructure projects has established the UK as a work-leader in tunnelling and underground construction,” said skills minister Nick Boles.
“Crossrail alone is supporting in the region of 55,000 jobs and with other major projects planned we want to go even further, to create a jobs legacy for future generations and give the industry the skills it needs to dig deeper and further.”
Apart from creating new routes into tunnelling jobs, the government also wants to build the skills of current employees to provide the workforce for projects like Crossrail 2 and High Speed 2.
A total of 75 new apprenticeships will be created and funded, out of which 20 are to be specialist marine apprenticeships. Plans also include creating a range of accredited courses for 4,813 people in the tunnelling workforce.
“The volume of tunnelling and underground construction work taking place in the UK over the next decade is unprecedented,” said Terry Morgan, Crossrail's chairman.
“Crossrail, in partnership with its principal contractors, has delivered the most significant injection of new skills in a generation. It is essential that we continue to grow the industry’s talent base to ensure Britain remains at the forefront of major infrastructure delivery.”
It is estimated that the UK’s economic infrastructure will see £460bn of public and private investment in the next five years.
Work at the Crossrail construction project – Europe’s largest – started in 2009 and currently employs over 10,000 people across 40 sites to deliver a new railway for London and the South East.