Crossrail will open a dedicated skills academy in London next summer to train workers to build the rail link.
With £16bn of funding now in place, the Crossrail Bill is expected to gain royal assent next summer and the Crossrail team are working on the procurement strategy.
Doug Oakervee, the chairman of Crossrail, said one of the biggest challenges would be the shortage of skilled technicians.
He said: “Crossrail goes through some of the most deprived boroughs in London and I think it would be very wrong if we didn’t endeavour to give the people who live in those boroughs the opportunity to be trained to work on projects like this.”
He is in discussions with professional institutions, training bodies and the CITB over the academy, which would have a series of modules in civil engineering in general, and tunnelling in particular. It is not clear how much the academy will cost to build and run.
“The group that we’ve got to talk to is industry,” he said. “Industry has got to buy into it. There’s no point training people if they’re not employed.”
It would be very wrong if we didn’t endeavour to train local people
Doug Oakervee, Crossrail
He also wants contractors to get involved early, and suggest off-site methods of lining tunnels and building stations.
This week, Oakervee told Building he was determined the scheme would not go over its £16bn budget. He said: “There is no question of cost overruns on this job.”
Construction is planned to begin in 2010. At its peak in 2013, Crossrail will employ 14,000 workers. It is due to finish in 2017.
Next month, Oakervee will hold a workshop with infrastructure clients and has invited utilities companies, Transport for London, Network Rail and London Underground to co-ordinate their works programmes to manage demand. He is also talking to developers behind such projects as the Thames Tideway tunnel.