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Since 2000, ITA, the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, has identified education and training as one of its main strategic goals. With the boom in the tunnelling and underground space industry, there is a growing demand for the training of students and professionals in this field, which is set to continue over the next decades.
In 2007, in order to promote and assist in the coordination of education and training in the tunnelling and underground space industry, ITA decided to create a Committee on Education and Training (the ITA-CET Committee).
It soon became clear to the Committee and ITA that funding and organizational aspects related to training were major concerns, particularly for emerging countries. This realization sparked the idea for an international foundation on education and training in the tunnelling and underground space industry, initiated by Eng. Abdullah Al-Mogbel (Saudia Arabia).
As André Assis, past Chairman of the ITA-CET Committee recalls, this Foundation would “have the capacity to offer its services in the field of education and professional training to companies and professionals, including in countries that are not ITA members. Its goal: to be the link between all types of professionals working in the very specific sector of tunnelling and underground space………and to strengthen the links between universities, research, and companies….”
This financially independent foundation would use donations generously provided by industry representatives to help fund and organize training sessions around the world at the request of both member nations and non-member nations. It would particularly help those countries that would otherwise not have the financial means to organize such events. It would also have the aim of providing scholarships for a limited number of students eager to follow one of the ITA-endorsed Master’s in the field of tunnelling and underground space.
This idea was unanimously welcomed at the ITA General Assembly in 2009 and thanks to the generosity of its founders, the ITACET Foundation was officially created under Swiss law on September 25th 2009.
A centre of excellence for education and training in tunnelling and underground space use
Since its creation, the Foundation has gone from strength to strength. Thanks to the generosity of its donors and lecturers, the Foundation has become a centre of excellence for education and training in tunnelling and underground space use and is able to fulfill its mission of providing high-quality education in a profession where technology is rapidly evolving.
To date (April 2020), over 8,500 professionals around the globe have benefited from over 80 training sessions organised by the ITACET Foundation in relation with the ITA-CET Committee. Many thanks to all those involved in the Foundation’s activities, who continue to help promote the tunnelling industry throughout the world!