Resources, Workforce, Certification & Training

Academy brings past into the present  

 

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is bringing the past into the present to reach a new generation of students at the University of Southern Queensland.  

ARTC has produced a suite of educational videos for secondary and tertiary students and teachers on the geotechnical investigations and analysis carried out for the Inland Rail project through the Great Dividing Range and Lockyer Valley. 

The videos explored several aspects of the geotechnical work including an introduction to the geological conditions, the drilling operation and coring, an analysis of the extensive collection of geological core samples and final report preparation. 

ARTC Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering said the rock and soil samples were used to determine soil stability and the general geology of the site and were a great opportunity for students with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects to view recent large scale field work and investigations. 

“There were around 500 boreholes drilled as part of the project in Queensland providing valuable technical data to inform the build of a 6.4km long tunnel through the Great Dividing Range which will be the longest freight rail tunnel in the southern hemisphere,” Pickering said. 

 “These specimens are unique. They are samples or rock buried beneath the earth and were formed around 100 million years ago.  

“The deepest at Mount Kynoch near Toowoomba was 280 metres deep and was an essential tool for our design team to progress the tunnel design.  

“Through our existing relationship with the University of Southern Queensland as a partner in the Inland Rail Skills Academy, we set out to develop this series of video resources for students based around 900 square metres of core. 

“The footage we shot was then paired with questions to our geotechnical staff on aspects of the project developed by the University to fit their course curriculum. 

“The videos will allow students to experience aspects of science and engineering which they would not see in their usual environment. The opportunity to view 100-million-year-old core samples doesn’t come along every day.” 

University of Southern Queensland’s Associate Head of School (Engagement and Outreach) and Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering, Dr Ali Mirzaghorbanali, said the videos would complement current teaching materials used within geotechnical and geological engineering subjects. 

“This is a clear example of work integrated learning where students learn the theory and practice from both the academic staff and field experts,” he said. 

“These videos will provide an opportunity for students to have exclusive, behind the scenes access to the engineering industry and further develop their skills for a future in STEM.” 

Pickering said the Inland Rail Skills Academy actively engaged with more than 1700 students and 120 teachers about rail and infrastructure career pathways through virtual work experience and STEM programs over the past 12 months. 

“A major focus of Inland Rail is building skills so that people and businesses are ready to take part in this once-in-a-generation project and the Academy is one pathway for them to achieve that,” she said. 

“We need to have people ready to undertake the work and regional communities along the alignment will need to capitalise on the opportunities Inland Rail will bring to their future workforces. 

“The Inland Rail Skills Academy is about facilitating opportunities for those willing to take the first step into a rail career.” 

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