Tunnelling Centre To Train Thousands Of Local Workers

An Australian-first tunnelling training centre in Melbourne will train thousands of local workers to deliver the Andrews Labor Government’s record pipeline of transport projects – including the massive Suburban Rail Loop.

The new $16 million Victorian Tunnelling Centre will be built at Holmesglen Institute’s Chadstone campus to train and skill local workers in underground construction and tunnelling.

It will 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.

Separately, Herrenknecht – one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of tunnel boring machines – has announced it will establish a Melbourne office and maintenance facility and begin investigations to recycle these massive pieces of machinery locally, for deployment on new projects in Victoria’s infrastructure pipeline.

The Labor Government is delivering a pipeline of major tunnelling projects stretching over more than a decade, and this new tunnelling workforce will create local jobs and make Victoria a world-leading tunnelling hub.

Just four years ago, no tunnels were being built in Melbourne. Now, because of our investments, tunnelling on the Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel projects will soon get underway, and by the time they’re finished work will have started on North East Link, Melbourne Airport Rail Link and the Suburban Rail Loop.

More than 15 gigantic tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will be used to build these vital projects that will deliver more trains to and from the suburbs, connect the regions and ease congestion on the state’s busy roads. Ten of these machines are expected be needed to build the Suburban Rail Loop alone.

To meet demand for this tunnelling bonanza, thousands of local workers will need to be trained in TBM operation and underground construction. The centre, which is modelled on the successful Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy established as part of London’s Crossrail, will open next year.

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.

This will support the thousands of apprentices, trainees and cadets who will deliver Victoria’s pipeline of infrastructure projects, completing at least 10 per cent of work hours under the Major Projects Skills Guarantee.

Herrenknecht, Germany’s market-leading TBM manufacturer, is currently custom building the six massive TBMs needed to build the West Gate Tunnel and Metro Tunnel projects.

To support construction and operation of these huge machines, Herrenknecht will open a local office in Melbourne. A key part of their work will be on how the TBMs can be reused and recycled and put to work on Victoria’s other major tunnelling projects into the future.

Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“This is the biggest-ever pipeline of transport projects in Victoria’s history. We’re not only creating thousands of jobs as we deliver these vital projects – we’re making sure local workers have the skills they need to build them.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“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.”