Apprentices sought for HS2 tunnelling programme

Tunnel-boring machine Florence prepares to make a start on HS2's Chiltern tunnel.

HS2 construction partner Align JV is recruiting nine new apprentices to join its team digging the 10-mile twin-bore Chiltern tunnel.

The announcement was made just days after the launch of the first giant tunnelling machine ‘Florence’ and weeks before HS2’s second tunnelling machine ‘Cecilia’ launches from the site at Chalfont Lane, close to the M25 in Buckinghamshire, to dig the second bore.

The nine new level-two tunnelling operative apprenticeships will be managed by Align’s tier two contractor, London-based TG Tunnelling, 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.

Andrew Stephenson MP, HS2 Minister.

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.

Jhen-Nel Swanson, HS2’s skills manager for the Central region, commented: “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.”

The nine tunnelling apprenticeships form part of Align’s commitment to create 100 apprenticeships from the 1,200 roles it expects to recruit to deliver its 21.6km section of Britain’s new high-speed railway.

In total, 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.

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