The course has been piloted by IRSA successfully over the past six months, with approximately forty per cent of participants gaining meaningful employment, including at Trans4m Rail, local councils, and other regional employers.

Over the five weeks, the students received theory and practical training including work health safety procedures, track fundamentals, minor mechanical equipment operations, track ballasting, and railway sleeper installation.

The program provides a head start for participants to take advantage of future employment opportunities along the Inland Rail alignment.

The Albury to Illabo and Stockinbingal to Parkes sections are taking shape with Martinus Rail recently awarded a $403.5 million contact for enhancement works on the sections, with construction on Stockinbingal to Parkes is expected to start later this year.

Inland Rail health, safety and environment director Stephen Jones said the project was delivering real opportunities for regional communities.

“We’re proud 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,” he said.

“Inland Rail is not just about building the railway line, as important as that is, it’s also about building the capability and capacity of local communities to continue to grow.

“There is no better legacy than helping local people learn new skills that set them up for new careers that can help them build better lives for themselves and their families.”