Skills and Employment

Access to a skilled workforce has been a crucial element in the delivery of the Crossrail programme. Early on, Crossrail committed to investing in the skills needed to secure the programme’s delivery as well as putting in place steps to create a lasting skills legacy for the industry.

To date, Crossrail and its supply chain has delivered over 600 apprenticeship starts, provided around 4,400 job starts local/unemployed people and trained over 16,000 people at the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA).

In 2010, Crossrail outlined its commitment in the Skills & Employment Strategy to work with JobCentre Plus and other partners to ensure that local people had the opportunity to find work and training through contractors, suppliers and service providers. A learning legacy paper on the Skills & Employment Strategy discusses Crossrail’s approach to skills and employment challenges and how Crossrail put in place steps to create a lasting skills legacy.

As part of Crossrail’s approach to procurement, Crossrail’s commercial contracts required principal contactors to commit to fulfilling specific skills and employment targets. These targets included local and/or unemployed job starts, apprenticeships, work placements and work experience. The learning legacy paper on Implementing Contractual Skills and Employment Targets outlines Crossrail’s approach to monitoring contractor performance to maximise employment and skills outcomes across the project.

Crossrail monitored contractors’ implementation of skills and employment initiatives by means of its Social Sustainability Performance Assurance Framework. This involved scrutiny of contractors’ delivery of quantitative targets; and also process and qualitative performance. A learning legacy paper on Apprenticeships reviews the Crossrail’s subsequent efforts to assess the quality of contractors’ delivery of apprenticeships more broadly. Contractors have been encouraged to discuss common issues and share good practice through various Employment & Skills Forums. .

Between 2011 and 2016 Crossrail operated a Jobs Brokerage Service, in association with JobCentre Plus. This provided a conduit for all relevant contractor vacancies to be advertised as widely as possible, so that local communities and under-represented groups could participate fully in recruitment by contractors. A Memorandum of Understanding with JobCentre Plus was set up to facilitate this process. To support the effectiveness of the Jobs Brokerage, Crossrail also established a series of Employment & Skills Partnerships with local boroughs and other special-interest organisations.

Crossrail established a state-of-the-art Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), based in Ilford, in response to the Skills & Employment Strategy and the skills challenges facing the project. TUCA is run for industry, by industry and offer a range of courses to meet the industry’s skill needs. A learning legacy paper reviews Crossrail’s approach to Addressing Skills Gaps Through Direct Intervention with the establishment of TUCA.

Skills and Employment Documents:

Summary Publication date Document Type

Implementing Contractual Skills and Employment Targets

Topic area: Employment and Skills

This learning legacy paper first describes the background context for Crossrail’s imposition of contractually binding skills and employment targets, then outlines the key features of each of these targets and the planning, reporting and performance management processes developed to support them. An explanation of the...

17/08/2018 Technical Paper

Achieving Social Sustainability Objectives Through Performance Assurance

Topic area: Employment and Skills

In 2012 Crossrail introduced six Performance Assurance Frameworks (PAFs), intended to ensure that Tier 1 contractors met, and preferably exceeded, their minimum contractual obligations. The present paper examines Crossrail’s application of the PAF approach in assuring contractors’ management of Social Sustainabilit...

14/03/2017 Micro-report

Crossrail Skills & Employment Strategy

Topic area: Employment and Skills

Crossrail had the opportunity to have a significant impact on the skills and employment across London and the South East. This micro-report explains the main considerations which shaped Crossrail’s development of its Skills and Employment Strategy, and then describes Crossrail’s experience of  implementing this St...

27/09/2016 Micro-report

Social Sustainability Working Group Terms of Reference

Topic area: Employment and Skills

A joint Social Sustainability Working Group was first established in 2014. The participants were Crossrail staff and Tier 1 contractor representatives involved in the day-to-day management of Social Sustainability [1] issues at site level, including implementation of Crossrail requirements relating to: Strategic Labou...

27/09/2016 Good Practice Document


Topic area: Employment and Skills

This case study outlines the apprenticeship initiatives adopted by Crossrail as part of its Skills and Employment Strategy, including imposition of contractually-binding apprenticeship targets. It describes some of the main characteristics of contractors’ apprenticeship arrangements and explains how Crossrail’s pri...

27/09/2016 Case Study

Addressing Skills Gaps Through Direct Intervention (TUCA)

Topic area: Employment and Skills

A major challenge of Crossrail was to mobilise the large, skilled workforce required to deliver the tunnelling phase of the project. Early on in the project it became apparent that the existing UK industry did not have enough people with the specialist experience and skills necessary to support the project. In addition...

27/09/2016 Case Study