Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 08:55 UK

Mayor unveils 'tunnel academy'

Artist impression of Crossrail train
The scheme will connect Maidenhead in Berkshire to Shenfield, Essex

Details of a new academy to train people in tunnel building for London's Crossrail project have been unveiled by the mayor of London.

The £16bn project is the UK's biggest transport scheme since the Channel Tunnel. Transport chiefs say it will create jobs and reduce congestion.

The Crossrail Tunnelling Academy is planned for spring 2010 and is expected to train 1,000 people by 2015.

Mayor Boris Johnson is to invest £8m in the engineering academy.

Mr Johnson said: "I want to make sure that Londoners benefit from the opportunities that this scale of work - not seen in the South East for 50 years - can offer.

"That's why, across the GLA group, we are cultivating hundreds of apprentices working to spark young people's interest in engineering and are investing £8m in the tunnelling academy, which will give many hundreds the skills necessary to be a part of the exciting and rewarding work of building London's long-awaited Crossrail."

The academy will be created through a partnership between Crossrail and the construction industry.

At its peak, it is hoped that the Crossrail building project will employ 14,000 people. Another 7,000 jobs are expected to be created indirectly through related services such as manufacturing equipment for the project.

Crossrail will connect Maidenhead in Berkshire with Shenfield in Essex, via London.

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