The government’s Thameslink programme which will transform travel across London and the south east from 2018, has celebrated the 500th trainee to successfully pass through its construction academy.
The London Bridge Skills Academy was set up in July 2013 to train and develop engineers working on the £6.5 billion Thameslink programme, as well as giving them the skills needed for the projects of tomorrow. Workers can study for courses from entry level construction skills to full professional qualifications in site management.
Rail minister Claire Perry said:
The Thameslink programme is helping to develop a new generation of highly-skilled engineers for future infrastructure projects. I congratulate everyone who has been through the academy so far, and I hope more workers will follow in their footsteps.
The success of the skills academy and the 500 trainees who have passed through its doors is proof that our investment in the rail network is helping to secure long-term economic growth, by generating jobs and creating new career opportunities.
The 500th graduate is Anthony Martin, from Southwark, who is one of 30 local people to have found work on the Thameslink programme. The 31-year-old joined the project a year ago, and has worked across the scheme.
I’ve been working on sites for many years, doing different kinds of work, from labourer to ground works. Not the skills and focus the skills academy has given me has not only made me more employable, but also helped me to focus on building a career.
As well as developing existing workers, the academy aims to leave a long-lasting legacy for the local community, with 27 work experience places offered to local schools and colleges, and training provided to 25 local apprentices.
The Thameslink programme will see the north-south route across London upgraded to provide new, spacious trains running every 2 to 3 minutes through central London, more reliable journeys and improved connections to more destinations, including Cambridge and Peterborough. The project also involves the complete rebuild of London Bridge station.
Thameslink is one of several major rail upgrades across the UK that will provide more seats, more services and better journeys for passengers. Over the next 5 years, more than £38 billion will be spent maintaining and improving the UK’s rail network.