HS2 partner launches search for tunnelling operative apprentices

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tunnelling operative apprentice

HS2’s construction partner Align JV will recruit 9 new apprentices to its level two tunnelling operative apprenticeship to help dig the 10-mile twin bore tunnels under the Chilterns

The Level Two tunnelling operative apprenticeships will be managed by Align’s tier two contractor, TG Tunnelling.

All 9 apprenticeships will be based at the South Portal of the Chilterns tunnel, just inside the M25 near Ruislip, where HS2’s 2,000-tonne tunnel boring machines begin their journey underground.

TG Tunnelling and Align are working closely with training providers J3M and Qualitrain to design a development programme that will enable the successful candidates to learn from and work with, the experts who will manage the logistics and maintenance of the 3.5 year-long tunnelling operation.

‘A lasting skills legacy’

HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson, said: “The first specialist tunnelling apprenticeships on HS2 are a hugely exciting opportunity for young people to work right at the heart of this vital project.

“As well as boosting their careers, these apprentices will play a significant role in building better connections between our towns and cities.

“As well as creating thousands of contract opportunities for British businesses, HS2 will leave a lasting skills legacy in the UK by supporting tens of thousands of jobs and opening up opportunities for people to retrain and upskill.”

Jhen-Nel Swanson, HS2’s skills manager for the central region, added: “Providing entry-level roles aligned to some of the most sophisticated engineering elements of the project is a clear sign of our commitment to upskill the next generation and leave a lasting skills legacy.

“This level of investment has never been more important as we strive to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, and we’re committed to ensuring that local people benefit from these and thousands of other job opportunities on HS2.”

HS2 has committed to creating 2,000 apprenticeships during the life cycle of the project and has already passed the 500 new apprentice starts milestone.

Tina Bailey, HR director at Align JV, said: “This is a unique opportunity for nine individuals to begin their construction career supporting the development of the Chiltern tunnels and the Colne Valley Viaduct, which are two of the most eye-catching and challenging engineering projects on the entire HS2 route.

“We actively encourage applications from local people, particularly those who are unemployed, and really hope to attract interest from female candidates, the under 25s and those with disabilities.”

The tunnelling operative apprentice roles will last for two years, with successful candidates receiving dedicated support throughout their learning journey.

The programme combines a wide range of on-the-job practical experiences, alongside a study programme which will account for 20% of the candidates’ time.

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