In an Australian first, high school students with an interest in rail and construction have just begun a two-year pilot program to get them ready for a career in the rail industry.
Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne visited the first class of students at the Rail Academy in Newport today to talk about careers in the transport industry and take a site tour of the purpose-built facility.
Led by the Level Crossing Removal Project, the Victorian rail industry has worked together to develop an introductory rail qualification for high school students, the Certificate II in Heavy and Light Rail Fundamentals (pre-vocational).
The course is aimed at students in years 9 and 10 and is designed to encourage more secondary students to consider joining the rail industry after finishing school.
The two-year, part-time course will count towards a VCE qualification, and will provide students with a basic knowledge of the rail industry in Victoria.
The 21 students enrolled in the course, from schools in Geelong, Berwick and Ringwood, will attend a weekly class at the Newport Community Hub. They’ll also get hands-on training at the nearby Rail Academy.
The curriculum is taught by Swinburne University of Technology and sees the students undertake training in all areas of railway operations, including customer service, safety awareness, rail infrastructure and rolling stock.
By the end of the course, students will have the technical know-how to lay sections of rail track and use a model signalling system to control a train’s movement.
More than half of the workers in the rail industry are currently aged over 45, and only 11 per cent aged under 30, so it’s vital that the next generation consider a job in the rail industry.
Thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s unprecedent rail infrastructure projects, around 3,000 new workers will be required in the industry across Victoria by 2024.
The two-year pilot program will finish in 2021 and is just one of many ways the Level Crossing Removal Project is helping to prepare the next generation of rail workers to deliver an unprecedented amount of infrastructure.