light rail, Rollingstock & Manufacturing, Safety, Standards & Regulation, Workforce, Certification & Training

Ensuring skills and qualifications remain relevant

The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is working to ensure that content of training courses and qualifications remain relevant to the needs of workers, and to the roles that its members perform in the rail, tram and bus industries.  

The way rail, tram and bus workers access training and qualifications has changed significantly over the past few decades. The significant increase in private RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) and the shift away from in-house training has altered the balance in how the qualifications are achieved. 

RTBU National Secretary Mark Diamond is on the board of Australian Industry Standards – the organisation which oversees the development and maintenance of qualifications for workers in the transport and logistics sectors. The RTBU is also involved in a number of industry committees through the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB). 

Diamond said both of these peak bodies support the development and review of the Rail Industry Standards, Codes of Practice, Guidelines and Qualifications. 

“When we work with AIS, we not only help ensure that our members’ skills remain valuable and relevant to their employers, but we also contribute to securing their ongoing employment through portability and national recognition,” he said. 

“Similarly with RISSB, our involvement helps drive national harmonisation and interoperability in the rail industry, improve operational consistency and importantly, safety. 

“It’s vital that workers are part of the conversation about skills development, so that the training packages which underpin national qualifications genuinely reflect what goes in the workplace. 

“Furthermore, we need to be vigilant against attempts by some employers to de-skill their workforces as a justification for paying workers less.” 

Diamond said Australian Industry Standards was currently conducting a number of industry reviews including: 

  • COVID19 in the industry
    • Automation
    • Asset maintenance
    • Safety
    • Customer service in the digital age
    • Cyber security. 

RISSB is also constantly reviewing its Standards, and a number of the union’s members are assisting with their technical expertise.