Tunnelling Operative Apprenticeship

Following the success of the first three cohorts of Tunnelling Operative apprentices, Qualitrain and J3M Construction Training Limited are now delivering two further cohorts of apprentices on this 18-month employer-led apprenticeship over the course of 2023 into 2024.

The primary role of a tunnelling operative is to assist with the excavation, support and forming of tunnels and shafts to provide an underground space, tunnel or shaft. Typical tunnelling methods include hand tunnelling, machine tunnelling using TBMs, pipejacking, sprayed concrete lining, shaft sinking and drill and blast.

To help develop new talent into the industry, Tunnelling Operative apprentices can work as part of a larger team on tunnelling projects. The apprenticeship is designed and structured to enable apprentices to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to assist a variety of tunnelling activities and tasks. These include moving and handling materials, resources and components by mechanically assisted or manual means and loading, unloading, handling and conveying goods and materials to and from the workface. Other duties will include guiding and controlling the movement and operation of plant, machinery and vehicles and preparing, checking and maintaining machinery and equipment in use.

On completion of the apprenticeship, apprentices will be able to demonstrate competence in the core skills, knowledge and behaviours defined in the apprenticeship standard by industry for operatives working in the modern-day tunnelling environment. This competence will be measured at the end of the apprenticeship practical training period using the agreed End Point Assessment [EPA] process. For further details on the apprenticeship standard and EPA, visit the Tunnelling Operative IfATE webpage.

For more information about the proposed apprenticeship delivery model and future delivery plans or to discuss your organisation needs, please contact either

Mike Perkins at mike.perkins@qualitrain.co.uk or Russell Mason at enquiries@j3mtraining.co.uk

Qualitrain are experts in the funded training arena. They have been delivering Business Improvements training for 15 years across many industrial sectors. Qualitrain has identified that for some new apprenticeship programmes, there is a need to bring in and link up with specialist training providers. These specialists may not have dealt with Ofsted and the ESFA before but are exemplary training providers. Qualitrain has set up a support arm in their business which does all of the behind the scenes work on behalf of training organisations who do not have the necessary experience, systems or approvals to lead the delivery of apprenticeship programmes.

Qualitrain also supports employers to access funding to ensure apprenticeship programmes work for all involved.

J3M Construction Training Limited are an accredited NOCN, CPCS, Cskills Awards, CITB, NPORS and C&G Training Centre with over 35 years' experience of working in the UK Tunnelling and Construction sector. J3M played a big part in the enormous success of first cohort of tunnelling operative apprentices in 2019-20.

Working closely with TunnelSkills, the Qualitrain/J3M training provider collaboration has established a great working partnership to ensure the best support and training possible for future apprentice cohorts.

The 12-18 month apprenticeship covers all aspects of working as a tunnelling operative and the proposed programme requires 10 weeks of specific training during this time. Most of this training can be delivered on site, face to face with the apprentices. Some cards/licences and site qualifications are trained but not funded through the apprenticeship; these ineligible costs will need to be paid for separately by employers.

The apprenticeship programme will take newly employed emerging talent on a journey of learning and discovery in the tunnelling sector at an exciting time for the industry and will lead to a highly qualified and experienced workforce who are more engaged and loyal to their employer organisations.

Follow the link to the Tideway Case Study for more information on this successful apprenticeship story.