Victoria to receive Australian-first tunnelling training centre

An Australian-first tunnelling training centre will be built in Melbourne, providing Victorian workers with the necessary skills to build major transport projects such as the Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel.

The state-of-the-art Victorian Tunnelling Centre (VTC) will be located at Holmesglen Institute’s Drummond Street campus in Chadstone and will take its first students during Semester 1 next year.

The $16 million centre will train around 3,500 local workers in tunnel boring machine (TBM) operation and underground construction each year – ensuring they are equipped to work on the pipeline of major tunnelling projects.

The centre will include both mined tunnel and TBM replica tunnels – enabling workers to familiarise themselves with the different tunnelling methods required to build major infrastructure projects.

The TBM replica tunnel will be the exact diameter of the Metro Tunnel, while the mined replica tunnel will be as wide as a three-lane freeway.

Basic training for workers on the Metro Tunnel project is already being delivered by Holmesglen, including virtual reality tunnelling, mined and bored tunnel inductions and self-rescue techniques. 

The VTC will take this specialist training to the next level.

The centre is modelled on the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy established as part of London’s Crossrail and the Tunnel Training Academy in Kuala Lumpur.

The Metro Tunnel is also receiving $3.3 million funding from the Victorian Government’s Workforce Training Innovation Fund to deliver a virtual reality training program to give Victorians skills in underground construction, tunnel boring and use of heavy equipment and technology.

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.

Six massive TBMs are needed to build the West Gate Tunnel and Metro Tunnel projects, with the Metro Tunnel’s first TBM recently launched from North Melbourne.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said, “We’re giving workers the skills they need to build our unprecedented pipeline of transport projects.

“We’re creating local jobs as we build the infrastructure Victorians need to get home safer and sooner.”

Victorian Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, said, “The Victorian Tunnelling Centre will not only create jobs and help build our state – it will ensure Victorians are at the forefront of tunnelling skills and innovation.”

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