News - Construction News

Super sewer drills apprentices

As the first tunnel boring machine begins to dig London’s super sewer, Tideway has announced twelve new apprenticeships which will train the next generation of tunnellers.

The first ring of the 25km tunnel has been drilled by Millicent (named after suffragist Millicent Fawcett) at Kirtling Street in Battersea, and the Toideway apprenticeships have been unveiled alongside it.

The Level 2 tunnelling apprenticeship was approved in January 2018, and this is the first time it has been offered in the industry, offering trainees a chance to learn tunnelling skills while studying at the same time.

Scott Young, Tideway’s Head of Skills and Employment, said: “This is the first opportunity to deliver a full cohort of tunnelling apprentices since the standard was approved in January. For our contractors and their wider supply chain to commit to employing these individuals and embedding them within their tunnelling gangs marks a major step forward for Tideway and we hope it will lead the way in delivering similar apprenticeships on major programmes in the future.

“With all of our contractors currently delivering their target of one apprentice for every 50 site employees, this scheme is an opportunity to bring people from diverse backgrounds into part of the industry where we have previously struggled to make vocational routes work effectively. This programme is about showing the range of varied occupations in our sector that offer a rewarding career and potentially global travel for many years into the future for the successful candidates.”

Mark Sneesby, Chief Operating Officer for Tideway, said: “Laying the first ring on the Thames Tideway Tunnel is a huge milestone that we’ve been working towards for more than a year. While you might have spotted our sites above ground along the River Thames, our team underground are now also in full swing as they start digging the 25km super sewer that will help clean up our river.

“It’s fantastic we’re able to mark this event by announcing a new apprenticeship, which will allow a new generation of tunnellers to train alongside some of the most highly skilled and experienced people in the construction industry, ensuring we have the right abilities for future infrastructure projects.”

Construction of the super sewer, which will tackle sewage pollution in the River Thames, will create more than 4,000 jobs in total – including more than 700 people working directly on, or in support of, tunnelling.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel has been divided into three sections – east, west and central – with each section being constructed by a different joint venture of contractors.

Four tunnelling apprenticeships are being offered by each of the joint ventures. By the end of the apprenticeship, individuals will be competent tunnelling operatives able to assist with the excavation, support and forming of tunnels and shafts. They will learn typical tunnelling methods such as hand tunnelling, machine tunnelling, pipejacking, sprayed concrete lining, shaft sinking and drill and blast.

If you are interested in finding out more about key infrastructure trends today, you may wish to attend the flagship infrastructure exhibition at the NEC in April 2019 : UKIS 2019

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