Overview of the role

Building the underground tunnels needed for services such as rail lines and water works.

Occupational profile

The primary role of a tunnelling operative is to assist with the excavation, support and forming of tunnels and shafts in the ground associated with the construction process to provide an underground space, tunnel or shaft; typical tunnelling methods will include hand tunnelling, machine tunnelling, pipejacking, sprayed concrete lining, shaft sinking and drill and blast.  The tunnelling operative will be working as part of a larger team on a tunnelling project in which they will have responsibility for performing tasks which will include moving and handling materials, resources and components by mechanically assisted or manual means; loading and unloading, handling and conveying goods and materials to and from the workface. Other duties will include guiding and controlling the movement and operation of plant, machinery and vehicles; preparing, checking and maintaining machinery and equipment in use.

Details of standard


Tunnelling Operative (Construction)


Typically 12 – 18 months