Press Release

Balfour Beatty offers unemployed Londoners exciting new career opportunities

10 July 2013


Fancy getting to work by riding a bicycle down tunnels, 60 metres under London? Could you handle being 3km from the nearest exit, deep underground? Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, is offering unemployed Londoners the opportunity to train and work on a National Grid project which will help keep the capital plugged into vital power supplies. Claustrophobes need not apply.

Up to 85 local applicants over the course of the project will be selected by Balfour Beatty to train for work installing high voltage cabling for the London Power Tunnels project. No previous experience will be required and the new recruits will be trained to operate in the network of vast cable tunnels under the city. The most effective way to travel the long distances required in these 4 metre wide tunnels is by bicycle or golf buggy.

National Grid’s London Power Tunnels is a seven-year project which will rewire the capital’s electricity grid via deep underground tunnels. This new electricity superhighway will help ensure that the capital will keep on enjoying safe and reliable energy supplies in the future.

Balfour Beatty has partnered with the state-of-the-art Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) in East London to attract and train the new recruits over the next year.

Kevin Craven, CEO of Balfour Beatty Services, said: “This is a really exciting new project and we want to offer local people the opportunity to work on it. It is a world away from your usual office job and offers a great opportunity and foot in the door for those interested in building a career in the power sector.”

“With billions of pounds due to be invested in energy networks over the next decade to ensure demand continues to be met, the successful candidates could have the opportunity to work on some of the most innovative and large scale infrastructure projects in the world, allowing them to continue to develop their skills and careers,” said Craven.

For the first stage of the project, 40 applicants will be put through three weeks of general training covering the basics of tunnel safety and all aspects of working in a construction environment.

23 trainees will then be offered permanent jobs by Balfour Beatty and enter into specialist training to give them the specific skills to help them perform safely and effectively on the London Power Tunnels project. They are due to start work in late September.

All costs for the courses will be met by TUCA and Balfour Beatty, with the training delivered by TUCA’s industry-leading trainers.

David Luetchford, National Grid’s Head of Cable Tunnels, said: “It’s National Grid’s job to connect people to the energy they use and this is what our London Power Tunnels project will do.”

“We’re delighted that our project is providing people in the capital with an exciting career opportunity. The selected candidates will be doing a very worthwhile job which will benefit the whole of London, helping to keep the lights on for years to come.”

Those interested in the roles are invited by Balfour Beatty to attend an open day at TUCA on Friday 26th July. They will meet the Balfour Beatty team, experience a tunnel environment and have the opportunity to ask any questions about the role. Attendance for the event is by pre-registration through Job Centre Plus.

Media enquiries:

James Merrylees
UK Gas & Water and Power T&D - Services Division
0114 232 9562
07967 689032

Media enquiries on National Grid’s London Power Tunnels project:

Antony Quarrell
National Grid Press Officer South
07810 853075

Notes to editors:

1.  The London Power Tunnels project

  • The new recruits will be helping to install 200km of new power cabling to the capital using Balfour Beatty’s innovative tunnel cabling machine.
  • This technology, which has already been used on similar projects in London and Yorkshire, was developed by the company’s in-house innovation team and is unique to Balfour Beatty.
  • It has allowed the company to improve cable installation rates by a third, reduce safety risks and install a single length of cable of up to 1.2km - the record for the longest single-length cable installation in Europe.
  • The vast tunnels, which are four metres in diameter, will hold 400kV cables, capable of carrying much more electricity than the more usual 275kV cables installed just below surface level under roads.
  • London Power Tunnels is due to be complete and fully operational by 2018.
  • The tunnels are up to 60 metres below the capital and will provide a subterranean 32km electricity superhighway which will help keep Londoners connected to the power they need.
  • This new project could see up to 85 people with no experience trained to work on high powered cabling.

The project is worth £50m to Balfour Beatty.

How to apply:

  • Register for our open day through Job Centre Plus
  • Attend open day on 26th July
  • If interested, apply for the roles through Job Centre Plus

2.  Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty ( is an international infrastructure group that delivers world class services essential to the development, creation and care of infrastructure assets; from finance and development, through design and project management to construction and maintenance.

Our businesses draw on more than 100 years of experience to deliver the highest levels of quality, safety and technical expertise to our clients principally in the UK, the US, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. We continue to develop our business in key growth markets in South Africa, Australia, Canada, Brazil and India.

With proven expertise in delivering infrastructure critical to support communities and society today and in the future, our key market sectors include transportation (roads, rail and aviation), power and energy, mining, water and social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.

Balfour Beatty employs 50,000 people around the world.

3.  Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA)

TUCA was established in 2011 by Crossrail, to address a shortage of people with the necessary skills to work underground on the transport scheme and on other planned infrastructure projects. Crossrail worked closely with industry partners, professional bodies and other organisations that carry out tunnelling and underground construction work, to ensure that the facilities and curriculum at TUCA would meet current and future industry needs.

Crossrail invested £7.5 million in the facility and a further £5 million in funding was provided by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) via the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). TUCA also has a number of other sponsors and in-kind contributors of plant and equipment.

4.  National Grid

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world.  We own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source. In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US we run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities. In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.  In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.

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