Education and Training UK training academy expands course range Aug 2012
Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk
Ten new courses are to be added to the curriculum of the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), in east London, UK, in the second half of the year. Three will be added by end of September 2012: Tunnel Rescue; Self Rescue; and Laboratory Technician. Seven more are to be added before the end of the year: Sprayed Concrete Break Out and Repair; SCL Pump Operator; Tunnel Fit Out; Working with Compressed Air; Introduction to Basic Geology and Ground Risks; Conveyor Systems in Tunnelling; and Construction of Shafts.
Shotcrete equipment workshop at the Academy

Shotcrete equipment workshop at the Academy

The curriculum development comes in addition to the current NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) apprenticeships in Pre-cast Concrete, Tunnel Operations, General Construction, Plant Mechanics, and SCL construction. Further training offerings include Diesel and Electric Loco Operations, and Working in Confined Spaces.
Sponsored initially by the Crossrail project in London, TUCA reports that 1,100 workers have been awarded their Tunnel Safety Card, a mandatory requirement for anyone applying to work on a Crossrail underground construction site.
The new courses are added at a time when the training facility is drawing international interest from countries in Europe and farther afield including Israel, Australia and Norway. As well as individual underground construction training, the facility is to be available for a range of bespoke programmes for both publicly-funded and commercial industry clients.
Shotcrete training demonstration

Shotcrete training demonstration

The latest round of curriculum development was outlined during an industry open day that was attended also by TunnelTalk. Visitors were taken on a guided tour to see donated equipment on display including shotcreting rigs and simulation software as well as a fixed, live material testing laboratory and a full-size TBM. TUCA operations are being expanded following the September 2011 opening of its 3,600m2 Academy.
After leading the development of the Academy, Crossrail hired the National Construction College (NCC) under a five-year contract to be the training skills provider. NCC is the direct training arm of CITB-ConstructionSkills, an industry training board and sector skills council already operating a number of centres and courses across the UK.
Crossrail contributed £7.5 million towards establishing TUCA, with the British Government's Skills Funding Agency adding a further £5 million. Other supporters include the British Tunnelling Society (BTS), TunnelSkills and a number of Crossrail contractors and equipment suppliers.
TBM on loan to TUCA from Morgan Sindall

TBM on loan to TUCA from Morgan Sindall

An industry advisory panel steers development of TUCA and includes members representing contractors, the BTS, higher education institutions and utility companies such as Thames Water, the National Grid and electricity supplier EDF.
Equipment provided by suppliers to the Academy include a BASF Meyco Potenza shotcreting rig in a dedicated workshop with steel tunnel profiles for SCL training a shotcrete training simulator from Sweden-based company Edvirt.
As part of the commercial side of the Academy, the Balfour Beatty/Alpine/Morgan Sindall/Vinci JV, which will excavate the Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Station tunnels for Crossrail, has established its materials testing lab at TUCA. The TBM at the facility is on loan for three years from Morgan Sindall for unpowered demonstrations.
After being established under the legal Crossrail entity, the training centre is planned to be independent and owned separately within three to four years.
UK tunnel safety and training schemes in focus - TunnelTalk, August 2011
Royal visit for Crossrail academy - TunnelTalk, February 2012

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