Seven employees of TT2 Limited, the operators of the Tyne Tunnels, are celebrating after becoming the first candidates in the UK to achieve the NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Road Tunnel Operations.

The qualification, which is designed to set a recognised standard for the operation of road tunnels in the UK and Eire, has been a joint venture between ProQual and the Road Tunnel Association (RTA), the body that represents the owners and operators. Graham Pearce, Chair of the RTA, presented the successful candidates with their diplomas at the TT2 Limited offices in Wallsend, North Tyneside.

As part of their qualification, the candidates needed to demonstrate their knowledge of control room safety systems and operations, including; Fixed Fire Suppression Systems, Ventilation, Lighting, Drainage and Traffic Control Management Systems, etc.

Rachel Turnbull, Chief Executive Officer at TT2, said: “I am delighted that TT2 employees are the first in the UK to achieve this qualification. We have now achieved the standard for all tunnel crossings in the UK and hope that other tunnel operators will follow our lead.

“Trained and competent control room operators are vital to the safe and efficient operation of the Tyne Tunnel. It is of the utmost importance to me that TT2 can proudly say that our staff have been externally verified against national standards.”

Graham Pearce said: “This qualification has been developed over the last five years through the close relationship between the RTA and Pro Qual. It’s an honour for me to present the first successful candidates with their diplomas. Well done everyone!”

Michael Ayre, Senior Tunnel Officer, said: “It’s fantastic to be one of the first people in the country to achieve this qualification. Everyone at TT2, our group and the assessors, put a lot of time and energy into making sure we achieved the high standards expected of us. I would recommend the qualification to any tunnel staff in the UK.”