Tunnel Constructor / Career

Overview of Occupation

Income Bracket: $60,000 – $100,000+

With our increasingly urbanized environment and technological advances we are seeing increased use of tunnels for underground services and traffic corridors. As the name suggests, tunnelling involves excavating underground and leaving a stable void to use for services such as rail, road, communications, water, sewerage, power and gas.

Alternative Titles: Tunnel Worker, Tunnel Construction Artisan

Education and Training: One path to becoming a Tunnel Constructor is through on the job training. You can also become a Tunnel Constructor through a traineeship or apprenticeship (also known as Australian Apprenticeship). Traineeships/apprenticeships involve a combination of on and off the job training. At this stage there is no educational prerequisite required to enter into a traineeship/apprenticeship, but usually you will have completed a minimum of Year 10.The formal qualification on completion of a traineeship/apprenticeship is Certificate III in Civil Construction (Tunnel Construction). This is a nationally recognised qualification. For more information on training and job pathways click here.

Employment Opportunities: There are job opportunities for Tunnel Constructors on projects of varying sizes around the country – in cities and rural areas. Major employers include civil contracting firms and major development companies. With more training and experience, you could be in line for promotion into a supervisory position such as leading hand or foreman.

Range of tasks performed in the occupation:

Tunnel Constructors usually start in the industry by carrying out a variety of manual tasks. With experience they can move on to operating a range of specialised machinery such as road header machines and tunnel boring machines. Tasks may include:

  • Reading and interpreting plans
  • Identifying types of rock being worked in
  • Excavating the tunnel using specialised machinery such as road header machines and tunnel boring machines
  • Mucking out tunnels for the removal of excess excavated material Installing rock anchors and fixing reinforcing mesh to the walls of the tunnel
  • Installing services such as air supply, ventilation, dust extraction and drainage for a safe and healthy environment during construction
  • Constructing portals on civil construction projects
  • Post operation clean up

Personal Requirements

To be successful in this occupation you should:

  • Enjoy practical and manual work
  • Be physically fit
  • Have good eyesight and coordination skills
  • Enjoy working outdoors
  • Have good communication skills
  • Be able to work in a team environment