Technology and IT, Workforce, Certification & Training

Micro-credentials help upskill rail engineers

Engineers Australia has launched micro-credentials for the rail sector as part of its efforts to combat Australia’s engineering skills shortage.

Engineers Australia chief engineer Jane MacMaster says the rail micro-credentials launched this week in partnership with Engineering Education Australia (EEA) will provide engineers working in the area with the confidence they can practise their skills at a recognised standard.

“The micro-credentials Engineers Australia offers will assist engineers to ensure their knowledge and skills remain relevant to a very dynamic industry,” she said.

“Technology, systems and ways of working are changing so fast, and industry is on the lookout for people who are up to date. Micro-credentials offer a fast way to extend existing skills and knowledge in a way that is validated against recognised practice.”

The Engineers Australia Rail Track Specialist Engineering Competencies, which underpins the criteria for the rail track micro-credentials, has been endorsed by both the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and the Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA).

Credentials include:

  • Determine rail track design requirements
  • Develop rail track alignment design
  • Plan rail track construction
  • Scope and commission rail track maintenance

Railway Technological Society of Australia executive chair Roy Unny said the RTSA was deeply involved in developing the rail micro-credentials. “We did a strategic analysis and looked at where there was a skill shortage, where the needs were from industry,” he said.

He said the alternative to credentialing more engineers was to wait for new talent to be trained up on the job — a slow process. “The skills are needed, and traditionally it’s on-the-job training, which is common across all industries but particularly in rail,” he said.

“Given the backlog of work that’s out there, there have to be solutions, such as micro-credentialing, which can shorten a little bit of that training time. It doesn’t cover 100 per cent of everything, but it provides an alternate means for somebody to be upskilled in a shorter period of time.”

Engineering Education Australia is the training provider of Engineers Australia, the peak professional body for engineering across the country. It delivers professional development courses and programs, designed specifically for engineers, all around Australia.