Work has begun to build a specialised tunnelling centre at the Holmesglen Institute to train 3500 workers each year in tunnel boring machine (TBM) operation and underground construction.
The Victorian Tunnelling Centre, located at Holmesglen Institute’s Drummond Street campus in Chadstone, Melbourne, aims to equip local workers with the skills needed to support the State Government’s pipeline of tunnelling projects.
It will include a mined tunnel and TBM replica tunnels to help familiarise workers with the different tunnelling methods for infrastructure projects.
The TBM replica tunnel will be the same diameter of the Metro Tunnel while the mined replica tunnel will be as wide as a three lane-freeway.
Metro Tunnel workers are already undertaking virtual reality tunnelling, self rescue techniques and tunnel inductions at Holmesglen. A $3.3 million funding grant has been provided by the Workforce Training Innovation Fund to deliver Metro Tunnel workers in underground construction, tunnel boring and the use of heavy equipment and technology.
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“We’re giving workers the skills they need to build our unprecedented pipeline of transport projects,” Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said.
“We’re creating local jobs as we build the infrastructure Victorians need to get home safer and sooner.”
The $16 million centre is modelled on the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy established as part of London’s Crossrail and the Tunnel Training Academy in Kuala Lumpur.
Holmesglen Institute will offer new and existing courses at the Victorian Tunnelling Centre, including Certificate and Diploma qualifications as well as safety-based training for underground works.
Six TBMs will be used across the West Gate Tunnel project and Metro Tunnel projects, with the first Metro Tunnel TBM launched from North Melbourne.
“The Victorian Tunnelling Centre will not only create jobs and help build our state – it will ensure Victorians are at the forefront of tunnelling skills and innovation,” said Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney.
The Victorian Tunnelling Centre will take its first students during Semester 1, 2020.