Australia’s first tunnelling training centre will be established in Melbourne to provide the skills necessary to deliver the city’s transport projects, including the potential Suburban Rail Loop promised by the state government.
The $16 million Victorian Tunnelling Centre will be built at Holmesglen Institute’s Chadstone campus in Melbourne’s south-east. It will train workers in underground in construction and tunnelling techniques. It is planned to open next year.
“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,” state transport minister Jacinta Allan said.
The centre 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.
Herrenknecht, the German tunnel boring machine (TBM) manufacturer (and who is delivering the TBMs for Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel project), has also announced that it will establish Melbourne office and maintenance facility. The company will investigate potential redeployment of these machines in future Victorian infrastructure projects.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the developments would support the governments planned infrastructure projects over the coming decades, including the massive Suburban Rail Loop announced recently.
“This is the biggest-ever pipeline of transport projects in Victoria’s history,” Andrews said. 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.”
New and existing Holmesglen Insitute courses will be offered at the new 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.