Freight Rail, Inland Rail, NSW

Inland Rail boosting work readiness in southern New South Wales

TAFE NSW and the Inland Rail Skills Academy are helping more local businesses and First Nations workers gain the skills to take advantage of a career in the civil construction industry.

More than 20 students, including six First Nations participants, have completed Working at Heights and Confined Spaces training at TAFE NSW Albury and Wagga Wagga, to boost their work readiness for future employment opportunities in the rail industry.

Participants included local workers from scaffolding and welding businesses who have previously gained work on Inland Rail projects in Victoria. Some participants also built upon their earlier training with the Inland Rail Skills Academy, having previously completed a Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure.

TAFE NSW Teacher in Plant and Mechanics Ross Gleason said students gain the hands-on practical skills to safely navigate real-world scenarios found in the workplace.

“It’s a great introduction to what a career in construction looks like, particularly for those who may be interested in exploring a trade career but aren’t sure where to start,” he said.

“The construction industry is the second largest employer in the Murray region. These skills are in high demand and very attractive to employers across a range of in-demand job roles.

“TAFE NSW is proud to partner with the Inland Rail Skills Academy to support the next generation of workers to explore their career options and set students on the path to success.”

The construction industry is the third largest employer of Indigenous people in Australia, employing more than 18,000 First Nations people, with female Indigenous workers representing 12% of the Indigenous workforce.

The three-day programs equipped students with hands-on practical skills to navigate the workplace safely, including using industry-standard equipment, assessing, and recognising potential risks, and building communication skills.

Stephen Jones, Inland Rail Executive Director Program Health, Safety, Environment & Sustainability, said the organisation is proud to offer these courses.

“Through the Skills Academy, Inland Rail is significantly contributing to communities along the alignment by creating opportunities for education, training, skills development, and employment.

“Inland Rail is being built now to create a new freight future for Australia. We want to support the next generation of workers in the rail industry, as we continue with the job of completing Inland Rail from Beveridge to Parkes by 2027.”