Companies - Crossrail and Network Rail

How was this solved?


The Crossrail project recognised that the project offered major opportunities in skills development and employment; ultimately contributing to the wider economy.

Identifying skills gaps in tunnelling and construction led to the establishment of the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA). Since establish TUCA in 2011 over 17,500 training outputs have been delivered.

Crossrail also provided an opportunity to work with the supply chain to inspire future talent and up skill the existing workforce. Under Crossrail's Strategic Labour Needs and Training (SLNT) agenda, Tier 1 contractors were required to show their plans for achieving targets for job starts, apprenticeships, work experience, work placements and graduate training in their tenders. 

Network Rail

Within Network Rail the Crossrail project provided a wealth of opportunities to develop individuals’ future careers. “We’re inspiring tomorrow’s workforce” says Suzanne Hardy, Workplace Co-ordination Manager, explaining how the programmes they have put in place provide potential for social mobility with lots of opportunities to learn. This includes supporting existing employees to enhance their skills through the project, providing new opportunities through apprenticeships, voluntary development programmes and placing a strong focus on diversity and inclusion.

With 350 Network Rail staff and thousands of contractors involved in the Network Rail Crossrail programme the opportunity to enhance the skillset was broad with key development areas that include construction, stakeholder engagement and community investment.

Several schemes are in place, notably:

Budding Brunels Rail – in association with Crossrail this is a 3 day course from the Construction Youth Trust which aims to develop industry awareness and employability skills for local young people and introduce them to apprenticeships and graduate opportunities. The course provides classroom and site based learning aiming to bring a diverse group of new entrants to the workplace.

The Mayor’s Fund for London paid work placement scheme provides meaningful work experience to young people not in employment, education or training. Network Rail used this opportunity to provide opportunities for ten people to participate on the programme within the Crossrail programme. The programme was designed to set tasks would provide the opportunity for the individual to take full responsibility for a project over a period of time, typically 3 months. This would enable them to take ownership of the workstream, learn on the job with continuous support and gain transferrable skills for their future development. Seven people found full time roles after completing the programme, four of whom were retained in Network Rail.

What were the outcomes?

Since the establishment of TUCA over 17,500 training outputs have been delivered. Under Crossrail’s Strategic Labour Needs and Training agenda, Crossrail and its supply chain has achieved the following outcomes: 4,700+ job starts, 867 work experience positions, 500 work placements, 449 graduates recruited and 603 apprenticeships.

Within Network Rail over 2500 young people have been engaged with 10 people completing the Mayor’s Fund programme, 7 securing full time roles, of which 4 were retained in Network Rail. Following the Budding Brunels programme over 40 young people have undertaken further work experience.


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