Construction company Morgan Sindall invited Bucks UTC students to the Knowledge Quad TunnelSkills ‘Discovery’ experience, where small groups get to be inside a virtual tunnel and learn about the construction processes. Both Morgan Sindall and its partnership with TunnelSkills believe this is the first of its kind in the South East region. With the school being located in Aylesbury this is very close by on the Kingsbrook Site.

This collaboration brought the world of tunnels and local infrastructure projects to life for students on the Construction and the Built Environment course. The interface with education inspires students to learn and discover.

Discovery of the Tunnelling Sector

This session gave students insight into the sector within construction, link to HS2 work nearby and potential career routes. The most exciting part was using virtual reality (VR) headsets. Our staff and students were then able to experience going down into a tunnel and how a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) works underground. Tunnelling as a sector with construction is an important part of infrastructure projects linked to civil engineering.

The visit helped students understand that the construction industry has broader career pathways beyond the traditional trades of bricklaying and carpentry. Tunnelling is a sector in its own right and the importance of health and safety in the underground environment was covered in detail, including the hazards, risks and controls at work.

Emergency Response

After a quiz, the students used the ‘Emergency Response’ app with the VR headsets while others were able to observe their progress: the steps you should take to correctly prepare, activate and wear a Self-Rescuer, raise the alarm, make your escape, use any installed equipment to contain smoke or fire, and use the tally system in the appropriate manner.


The first University Technical Colleges (UTCs) were opened by Lord Baler in 2010 and Bucks UTC opened in 2013. The inception was created by government to enable education to bridge the gap with employers and the way they do that is “learning by doing”. Morgan Sindall are a fantastic Employer Partner at Bucks UTC and have provided many meaningful engagements for students from Year 10 to Year 13, including crucial work experience opportunities.