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Rail Minister celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Stephen Hammond meets apprentices at Crossrail’s Whitechapel station site.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond has praised the work of Crossrail in leading the way in apprenticeships following a visit to the Whitechapel station site yesterday (4 March 2014).

Nearly half of the apprentices currently employed on the £14.5 billion infrastructure project were previously out of work – a success rate that is almost double the UK national average.

Visiting the site as part of National Apprenticeship Week, the Rail Minister said:

Crossrail continues to set the benchmark for apprenticeships and is a shining example of our determination to invest in young people. Not only are we transforming the transport network through record levels of investment, we are creating a legacy of skilled workers who will keep Britain at the forefront of the global race for years to come. This is further proof that our long term economic strategy is on track, creating jobs and making a real difference to people’s lives.

The Rail Minister met with Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan to discuss the work at Whitechapel. This is one of the project’s most challenging and impressive stations with ambitious architecture and a constrained, busy urban location which straddles existing Underground and Overground rail lines.

After a brief tour of the works, he met with apprentices, including Crossrail Apprentice of the year Rudy Nieddu, from Forest Hill.

Speaking about his civil engineering technician apprenticeship, the 28-year-old said:

I’d experienced long periods without work while an electrical labourer. It was a real struggle. I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out I’d been accepted onto an apprenticeship with Crossrail. To start my career on Europe’s largest infrastructure project is brilliant. This role gives me stability and allows me to start planning ahead.

Crossrail is set to transform rail travel across London, delivering more trains, services and seats though the heart of the capital from 2018.

The infrastructure project is well on track to meet its target of employing 400 apprentices across the life of the project. In addition, 800 out of work jobseekers have so far found jobs on the project.

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