Apprenticeships in England
Apply for apprenticeships in England
Tunnelling operatives build the underground tunnels needed for services such as rail lines and water works. They assist with the excavation, support and forming of tunnels and shafts in the ground associated with the construction process to provide an underground space, tunnel or shaft.
There are several routes to becoming a tunnelling operative. You could do a college course, an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.
You should explore these routes to become a tunnelling operative to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.
You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.
You could complete a specialist Level 2 Diploma in Tunnelling Operations to become a tunnelling operative.
There are no set qualifications for this course, but it helps to have GCSEs (or equivalent) in maths and English.
You could complete an intermediate tunnelling operative apprenticeship with a construction company to become a tunnelling operative.
You’ll need 2-3 GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent.
Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.
If you have some basic experience as a labourer, you could apply directly to a construction company to gain onsite experience as a tunnelling operative. You might start out as an assistant to a more experienced tunnelling operative and progress as your abilities improve.
Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as in construction. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.
Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a tunnelling operative include:
Most tunnelling operatives start out working in the pit, removing earth, rock and other waste materials, before becoming qualified. As a tunnelling operative, you could be required to work in a confined environment for long periods of time, as some tunnels are several kilometres long.
As a tunnelling operative you could be:
Jack Blackburn - Tunnelling operative
"It was an excellent opportunity to learn a trade with the possibility of progressing into other areas of the construction industry."
The expected salary for a tunnelling operative varies as you become more experienced.
Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.
* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019
Check out the latest tunnelling operative vacancies:
As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.
As a tunnelling operative, you could move into similar roles, and become a diamond drilling operative, land drilling operative or plant operator.
With additional qualifications and training, you could become a tunnelling engineer or project consultant.
Explore the progression opportunities below