Signalling & Communications, Workforce, Certification & Training

Legislation, projects boosting demand for signalling skills

Registered Training Organisation Competency Australia told Rail Express how it has added more trainers, classrooms, new courses and new equipment, in response to industry growth.

Competency Australia provides training, assessment and competence management services to the rail industry. It launched in 2009 with the provision of competence assessment services for the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s signalling personnel.

Speaking with Rail Express, Competency Australia chief executive officer and director Jeanette Aitken said there’s more demand than ever for highly qualified signalling and operations management staff, a trend she puts down to two key factors.

“One reason would be changes to and the adoption of the Rail Safety National Law.” Aitken explains. “Australian railways have adopted a national approach to training which includes recognition of the importance of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).”

The second major factor driving the demand for qualified signalling professionals is the sheer number of new projects happening all across the Australian rail landscape.

“There’s a lot going on throughout Australia, from the Level Crossing Removals in Victoria to the Sydney Metro to the Inland Rail” Aitken says. “We’re seeing an increasing number of people looking to move into the rail industry, as well as those who are looking to progress their careers to the next level. We are also seeing more demand for our communications equipment courses, as the digital railway evolves, with wider spread implementation of advanced signalling technologies.”

Competency Australia’s Broadmeadow facility in New South Wales is custom built for the delivery of signalling and communications training. Recent upgrades include an increase in the equipment available including digital track circuits, axle counters, optical fibre systems, computer based interlockings and predictor level crossings. Practical training courses are also run in Victoria, at the Newport Rail Academy.

“We believe that ‘hands on’ is the best way to learn, and we integrate practical exercises into all our signalling and communication courses,” Aitken says.

Competency Australia runs introductory courses, equipment specific courses, signal safeworking and UEE41211 – Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling, delivering these both as public courses and to private groups throughout Australia.

Diploma of Rail Operations Management

Competency Australia has an intake of students every three months for one of its other popular courses, the nationally recognised qualifi cation, Diploma of Rail Operations Management.

Targeted at people in network control, rail operations managers, maintenance managers and safety auditing and management roles, Aitken says Competency Australia’s course is the only course of its kind available in Australia.

“The course covers a range of important topics, including rail safety investigation, rail resource management and asset management. It provides an understanding of how the railway works, and the legislative and regulatory environment in which it operates.”

Like the Rail Signalling course, the Rail Operations Management Diploma attracts a mixture of individuals and organisations sending groups.

Both the Diploma of Rail Operations Management and the Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling will have their next intake in February 2019. To find out more, visit:

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