A new $16 million tunnelling centre will open in Melbourne to give thousands of workers the skills necessary for upcoming transport projects, including the Suburban Rail Loop.
It will include a replica tunnel with a full height entrance, three multi-purpose engineering workrooms and training facilities, including tunnels shaft and concrete lining spray simulators, as well as virtual reality equipment.
The centre will be located at the Holmesglen Institute’s Chadstone campus and is modelled on the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy established as part of London’s Crossrail.
Holmesglen Institute will offer new courses at the tunnelling centre, including Certificate and Diploma qualifications, as well as safety-based training for working underground. It is estimated that by 2021, up to 5000 students will participate in training courses at the new centre each year.
Tunnel boring machine (TBM) manufacturer Herrenkecht has also announced it will establish a Melbourne office and maintenance facility and will begin investigations to recycle the machines locally, for deployment on new projects in Victoria.
Herrenkecht is currently building the six customised TBMs needed to build the West Gate Tunnel and Metro Tunnel projects.
The Victorian Government estimates that by the time these projects are finished, work will have begun on North East Link, Melbourne Airport Rail Link and the Suburban Rail Loop.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the development is part of the biggest pipeline of transport projects in the state’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,” Mr Andrews said.
Victorian Minister for Public Transport 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.”