TT2 is an extremely familiar business name to anyone who travels by car between North and South Tyneside.

But it’s not quite such common knowledge that TT2 is a keen supporter of Apprenticeships in the region, offering a number of career opportunities to excellent candidates.

Shaun Simmons, Business Support Officer at TT2, discusses the company’s Apprenticeship schemes from his base at the Tyne Tunnels in Wallsend.

What does TT2 do?

Well, as you’d expect, we’re based at the Tyne Tunnels in Wallsend and employ 52 people in total. The majority of these (38) live on the north side, in North Tyneside, while the rest live on the south side, in South Tyneside.

We are a private company, contracted to maintain and operate the Tyne Tunnels on behalf of the North East Combined Authority for a concession period of 30 years. TT2 was established in November 2007. We employed contractors to design and build the new tunnel and also refurbish the original tunnel.

How many apprentices do you currently have working in the North Tyneside area?

We have four apprentices in total – two Apprentice Tunnel Officers and two Electrical Engineering Apprentices. We run our Apprentice schemes in conjunction with TyneMet College.

We started our Apprenticeship scheme back in 2005, back when we were the original Tyne Tunnels company run by NECA, with three Electrical Engineering Apprentices. Since that time, we’ve taken on 10 apprentices in various positions and we’re very proud that five of them have gone on to secure permanent positions within the company.

Our four current apprentices are progressing through their programmes really well.

Tell us about an example of the success of your Apprenticeship scheme.

Apprentice Tunnel Officer’s Dan Parkin (left) and Mackenzie Sharpe (right) complete the first phase of their Tunnel Operations Apprenticeship by achieving their BTEC Level 2 certificate in Customer Services.

All of our apprentices have excelled during their apprenticeships – we’re very proud of the standard of the individuals we attract to our scheme, and the training delivered to them.

Daniel Pattinson joined TT2 in 2012 on an advanced apprenticeship in electrical maintenance and went on to receive engineering student of the year 2014 from the TyneMet College. Dan is now working in a permanent position as a maintenance officer for TT2.

With regard to the Apprenticeship initiative specifically, TT2 has created the very first Tunnel Operations Apprenticeship in the UK, which includes a NVQ – BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Customer Service in partnership with TyneMet College. It also includes a NVQ level 3 Diploma in Road Tunnel Operations which is independently verified by ProQual. The Road Tunnel Operations Diploma is endorsed by the Road Tunnels Association, and TT2’s success with the programme has caught the interest of many other road networks throughout the UK.

Can you tell us about any long-standing employees who have come through the Apprenticeship scheme at TT2?

Our longest standing employees who have been through the Apprenticeship Scheme are the original three apprentices. One of those is James McKenna. He completed his apprenticeship a number of years ago and secured a permanent position here. Following on from his successful journey through the scheme, James has gone on to complete his HNC and a degree. He is now the Equipment Engineer for the Tunnels.

The theme of National Apprenticeship Week 2018 is “Apprenticeships Work” why do Apprenticeships Work for TT2?

TT2 recognises that the academic route is not for everyone. Operating and maintaining the Tyne Tunnels requires a unique skill set and utilising the Apprenticeship Scheme allows us to provide hands-on experience and training to new and enthusiastic individuals.

We’re extremely proud to have an experienced workforce and an incredibly low staff turnover. Almost three-quarters of the workforce have been with the company for ten years. The incorporation of this wealth of experience, along with an apprenticeship programme such as we have, ensures that TT2 can provide and sustain high levels of service to our customers and our apprentices, long in to the future.

Being part of the drive for successful apprenticeships has definitely been a success for TT2. We plan to continue taking on apprentices and will enjoy watching them achieve great things in their careers.

For more information about TT2, visit

Employers are entitled to a £1000 incentive for recruiting an apprentice aged 16-18 or an apprentice aged 19+ who requires additional support, for more information about hiring an apprentice an how the Apprenticeship Levy can work for your business, visit our Recruitment page or submit a query below. 


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