Access to a skilled workforce has been a crucial element in the delivery of the Crossrail programme. Early on, Crossrail committed to investing in the skills needed to secure the programme’s delivery as well as putting in place steps to create a lasting skills legacy for the industry.
Crossrail, its supply chain and the operators TfL and MTR Crossrail have delivered over 1000 apprenticeship starts. Crossrail and its supply chain provided around 4,400 job starts for local/unemployed people and trained over 16,000 people at the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA).
In 2010, Crossrail outlined its commitment in the Skills & Employment Strategy to work with JobCentre Plus and other partners to ensure that local people had the opportunity to find work and training through contractors, suppliers and service providers. A learning legacy paper on the Skills & Employment Strategy discusses Crossrail’s approach to skills and employment challenges and how Crossrail put in place steps to create a lasting skills legacy.
As part of Crossrail’s approach to procurement, Crossrail’s commercial contracts required principal contactors to commit to fulfilling specific skills and employment targets. These targets included local and/or unemployed job starts, apprenticeships, work placements and work experience. The learning legacy paper on Implementing Contractual Skills and Employment Targets outlines Crossrail’s approach to monitoring contractor performance to maximise employment and skills outcomes across the project.
Crossrail monitored contractors’ implementation of skills and employment initiatives by means of its Social Sustainability Performance Assurance Framework. This involved scrutiny of contractors’ delivery of quantitative targets; and also process and qualitative performance. A learning legacy paper on Apprenticeships reviews the Crossrail’s subsequent efforts to assess the quality of contractors’ delivery of apprenticeships more broadly. Contractors have been encouraged to discuss common issues and share good practice through various Employment & Skills Forums. .
Between 2011 and 2016 Crossrail operated a Jobs Brokerage Service, in association with JobCentre Plus. This provided a conduit for all relevant contractor vacancies to be advertised as widely as possible, so that local communities and under-represented groups could participate fully in recruitment by contractors. A Memorandum of Understanding with JobCentre Plus was set up to facilitate this process. To support the effectiveness of the Jobs Brokerage, Crossrail also established a series of Employment & Skills Partnerships with local boroughs and other special-interest organisations.
Crossrail established a state-of-the-art Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), based in Ilford, in response to the Skills & Employment Strategy and the skills challenges facing the project. TUCA is run for industry, by industry and offers a range of courses to meet the industry’s skill needs. A learning legacy paper reviews Crossrail’s approach to Addressing Skills Gaps Through Direct Intervention with the establishment of TUCA.