Crossrail’s multi-million pound skills academy is to remain open after work on the project is completed, safeguarding a major skills resource for the capital and UK.
Based in Ilford, the £5m Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) has trained more than 15,000 contractors and apprentices since it opened in 2011.
With work on the project nearing completion, Transport for London and Crossrail have ensured the academy’s future by signing a deal with Prospects College of Advanced Technology to run it for a further five years, allowing the facility to join a network of ‘Centres of Excellence’ being developed by the Department for Transport.
The capital’s transport agency says this will allow “a new generation of specialists” to learn the skills necessary to deliver future transport projects.
Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “It is essential we continue to develop the skills this country needs to deliver major infrastructure projects, from Crossrail 2 to HS2.
“The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy has played a leading role in supporting the skills for the Crossrail project and will leave a lasting legacy with new apprentices learning the vital skills of tunnelling and construction.”
Neil Bates, PROCAT’s Principal and CEO, said: “We are really excited to be working with TfL to build on the excellent work that has been done at TUCA since it opened.
“Our shared vision is that TUCA becomes a national and international centre of excellence for specialist railway engineering, construction and civil engineering industries providing the specialist higher level skills so badly needed to support the UK economy.”
Sir Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman, said: “The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy has been a huge success story.
“The Academy established by Crossrail in 2011 has not only given over 15,000 people the skills needed to deliver the new railway but has also revitalised the UK’s tunnelling and underground construction skills base.
“As the Crossrail programme passes the 80 per cent complete mark, I’m delighted that TUCA will continue to play a key role in supporting the Elizabeth line as an operating railway as well as the next generation of UK infrastructure projects.”