Passenger Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

Mernda extension project smashes skills guarantee target

Over 63,000 hours of work on Melbourne’s Mernda Rail Extension Project have been delivered by apprentices, trainees or engineering cadets, exceeding the target of 52,500 hours set by the Victorian Government’s Major Projects Skills Guarantee (MPSG).

Under the MPSG all publicly funded works contracts valued at or over $20 million are required to use Victorian apprentices, trainees or engineering cadets for at least 10 per cent of the total estimated labour hours.

Greg Rafferty, a manager on the Mernda project, said the team’s performance showed the way forward in the construction industry.

“We can be proud of our efforts in creating social change and contributing to a powerful legacy of skill and capacity uplift within the industry,” Rafferty said.

“This really demonstrates what is possible when we put our hearts and minds into it.”

107 engineering cadets, trainees and apprentices have worked on the project over the past year, which includes the construction of three new stations, three rail bridges and two underpasses, as well as a train stabling yard at the end of the line.

To help reach the MPSG target, a dedicated Jobs Hub for the Mernda Rail Extension Project was opened by the Victorian government. The Hub provided information and support for those seeking work, including information regarding training and qualification requirements.

Moreover, it provided those with a disability, long-term unemployed individuals, and workers transitioning from the auto industry access to suitable employment service providers.

Subcontractors working on the Mernda project also adopted the target into their work packages.

“Ensuring we have apprentices, trainees and cadets employed on our projects is so important. This is just one way the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) is helping prepare the workforce for the unprecedented amount of work in the pipeline over the next 10 years and beyond,” said LXRA’s director of industry capability and inclusion Bradley Giddins.

“We’re really helping to set up careers and skillsets by getting the workforce ready for the future.”