New centre in Melbourne to meet skills demand for “tunnelling bonanza”

A stock photo of a tunnel boring machine. Photo: Manu Bahuguna.
A stock photo of a tunnel boring machine. Photo: Manu Bahuguna.

The Government of Victoria will invest A$16 million into building a centre of excellence for tunnelling training.

The centre, in Melbourne, will train thousands of local workers in tunnel boring machine operation and underground construction to meet the skills demand for the upcoming “tunnelling bonanza”.

As well as tunnelling for the Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel projects, which will soon get underway, there will also be tunnelling work on the North East Link, Melbourne Airport Rail Link and the recently announced Suburban Rail Loop.

The centre, which is modelled on Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy, will open next year.

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Transport minister Jacinta Allan said: “The Victorian Tunnelling Centre will train and upskill thousands of local workers, so they can play their part in building the rail and road projects people need.”

The centre will be built at Holmesglen Institute’s Chadstone campus and include a replica tunnel with a full-height entrance, three multi-purpose engineering workrooms and training facilities, including tunnel shaft and concrete lining spray simulators, as well as virtual reality experiences.

Holmesglen Institute will offer both existing and new courses at the tunnelling centre, including Certificate and Diploma qualifications as well as safety-based training for working underground. By 2021, it is estimated up to 5,000 students will participate in training courses at the centre each year.

Read more: Life after Crossrail: what next for London’s tunnelling academy?