Tunnelling Operative Apprenticeship

Developing core skills and knowledge

Level 2 Tunnelling Operative Apprenticeship

A Tunnelling Operative role involves constructing underground tunnels needed for services such as rail lines and water works.

A Tunnelling Operative’s role is to assist with the excavation, support and forming of tunnels and shafts in the ground. These shafts provide an underground space or tunnels. Typical tunnelling methods include: hand tunnelling, machine tunnelling, pipejacking, sprayed concrete lining, shaft sinking and drill and blast. 

Tunnelling Operative Apprentices can work as part of a team on projects to enable them to develop their skills and talents. The apprenticeship is designed to allow apprentices to develop knowledge, skills and behaviours required for a variety of tunnelling responsibilities. These include: moving and handling materials, resources and components by mechanically assisted or manual means and loading, unloading, handling and conveying goods and materials to and from the workface. Other duties will include guiding and controlling the movement and operation of plant, machinery and vehicles and preparing, checking and maintaining machinery and equipment in use.

Core Skills

On completion of this apprenticeship, Tunnelling Operatives will be able to demonstrate competence in the following:

More information about the Core Knowledge and Skills, and the entry requirements can be found here.


The Tunnelling Operative Apprenticeship is delivered in collaboration with J3M Construction Training and TunnelSkills

TunnelSkills intend to support the apprenticeship programme in 2021 with a bursary of £1000 for the first 20 apprentices that are enrolled on cohorts in 2021. This will help to reduce some of the unfunded licence and qualification burden for employers.

J3M Construction Training Limited are an accredited NOCN, CPCS, Cskills Awards, CITB, NPORS and C&G Training provider with over 35 years’ experience of working in the UK Tunnelling and Construction sector.

Working closely with TunnelSkills, the Qualitrain/J3M training provider collaboration has established a great working partnership to ensure the best support and training possible for future apprentices.