HS2 tunnel boring machines on site

HS2 unveils new tunnelling operative apprenticeships

Supporting new opportunities within the rail industry, HS2’s construction partner has announced it is recruiting nine new apprenticeship roles to work as part of the tunnel boring programme of work under the Chilterns.

The Level Two tunnelling operative apprenticeships will be based at the South Portal of the Chilterns tunnel, near Ruislip, where HS2’s 2,000-tonne tunnel boring machines will begin their 10-mile journey underground.

The first of these giant tunnelling machines - named ‘Florence’ - launched recently, with the second, ‘Cecilia’, set to start in the coming weeks.

As such, those involved are keen to bring the new apprenticeship recruits on board soon, where they will work closely with training providers and complete a development programme designed to enable successful candidates to learn from and work with industry experts managing the logistics and maintenance of the tunnelling operation, set to last for 3.5 years.

The apprenticeships will be managed by Align JV’s own tier two contractor.

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 Swanston, 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.”

Over the life cycle of the project, HS2 has committed to creating 2,000 apprenticeship roles and has already passed the 500 apprentice starts milestone.

Construction partner Align had also committed to creating 100 apprenticeship roles, alongside a wider 1,200 roles it expects to recruit to deliver the 21.6km section of Britain’s new high speed railway.

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