TunnelSkills was formed to promote improved competence in the tunnelling industry by working with ConstructionSkills and the industry Clients to set competence standards utilising qualifications based on appropriate National Vocational Qualifications based on National Occupational Standards. Then to promote the requirement to achieve NVQs by onsite training and assessment by approved assessors and verifiers.

Why formed
The tunnelling industry in the UK has been waiting for some time for the major tunnelling projects needed in the UK to be developed and funded. However they also identified that this could lead to shortages of the skills needed to drive tunnels particularly under sensitive structures.
The contractors decided to grasp the initiative and establish a verified competent workforce to reassure the property owners and other stakeholders

Health and safety was the first priority and so the TunnelSkills Underground Passport was developed and put in place to ensure basics standards of Health and Safety knowledge prior to going underground. (See Safety passport) . Training frameworks and qualifications for new entrants to tunnelling have been developed along with an outline apprenticeship syllabus.