The MMC-Gamuda’s Tunnelling Training Academy (TTA) was launched by our former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed in December 2011. It was set up exclusively to meet the need for tunnelling skills and expertise for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project currently being implemented by the Government in Klang Valley.
TTA carries with it the recognition and novelty of being the first training school to produce highly skilled manpower for the tunnelling industry. It is mainly to support the need for the MRT project’s tunnelling requirements. The TTA is Gamuda’s training initiative to upgrade knowledge, skills and performance of workers in the local construction industry. Apart from that, it will also help to produce an adequate supply of specialists, technicians and skilled labour to support the roll-out of the MRT and other similar projects in the future requiring tunnelling expertise.
Making the SBK line tunnel happen requires manpower, lots of them. However, Malaysia does not have a sizable pool of workers that are trained to handle underground construction.
Realising this shortfall, MGKT invested RM10mil in creating South East Asia’s first ever tunnelling training academy (TTA).
There are three types of training offered at the TTA. The three programmes are skills, vocational and specialist training. The skills training is for school leavers while the vocational training is for those with some experience in various engineering fields, including mechanical and electrical, while the specialist or advanced training is for qualified engineers.
Ultimately, all three programmes will be centred around the tunnelling process and the use of TBMs. The duration of the tunnelling varies from six weeks to three months, and should trainees show an interest to learn more, they will be given further training.
The TTA requires about RM1.8mil to operate annually, and can take in a total of 200 trainees at one time. In future, it will also train additional workers should there are more tunnelling jobs in the country.
Upon completion of their training, the trainees are posted to the various MRT project sites. Most of the recruits to TTA are from vocational institutions and government schools, and MGJV sees the tunnelling industry as an area where Malaysians can be encouraged to achieve their full potential.
Even though someone may have had experience in construction, there is still need for him/her to undergo specific training on tunnelling work. The good news is that there is no specific requirements other than being literate for freshies who intend to join the Academy.
Training includes welding, data management, material testing, tunnel ring building, shotcrete application, and so on. Trainees will be assessed on a pass or fail basis as it was crucial that trainees are able to fulfil the task given to them.
Dropout rate from the Academy has been minimal, and there had been “graduates” from the Academy who went on to become trainers there.
Other than filling the immediate void in manpower for underground work, in the long run, the TTA will be key in helping the country reduce its dependence on foreign expertise.
The Academy is the world’s first training school designed to specially produce skilled manpower for the tunnelling industry, and is in line with the Government’s aspirations to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020. The Academy will train a Malaysian workforce in the highly specialised field of tunnel construction, and will also provide a number of specialists to support the roll-out of the MRT project.
TTA is also expected to cater for the training needs of additional workers required for future KVMRT Lines that are part of the Kang Valley Urban Rail Development Plan.
Where applicable, TTA will collaborate with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in the assessment and award of the relevant skills certificates for participants.
The range of facilities available at TTA include indoor classrooms, on-site tunnel boring machine cutterwheel, shotcrete mould, testing unit for annular gap filling (grouting), testing unit for foam production, laboratory apparatus, as well as equipment and devices for tunnelling data acquisition and analysis, and erector simulator for tunnel segment ring building.
With a solid track record in training young Malaysians for the local tunnelling industry, TTA has opened its doors to develop the tunnelling competency of Delhi Metro engineers from India.
The signing of MoA outlines a strategic collaboration between MMC-Gamuda and Delhi Metro, where engineers from Delhi Metro will be sent for customised theoretical and practical tunnelling training courses at TTA. The first batch of 10 engineers has just completed their tunnelling training programme.
This marks the beginning of TTA forays into the international tunnelling fraternity.
Watch The TTA Video