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NTC, Cisco team up for digital skills training


The National Transport Commission (NTC) is working with global tech company Cisco to find better ways to equip Australia’s rail workforce with the digital skills needed to build and operate modern rail systems.

The number of rail workers in Australia is forecast to grow by around 18 per cent over the next five years. At the same time key digital roles in the sector are expected to increase by 54 per cent.

The NTC, through its National Rail Action Plan (NRAP), is working to bridge this growing digital skills gap with nationally recognised training, and the development of a national digital training curriculum aligned to the Australian Qualification Framework.

By signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Cisco, the NTC aims to leverage the technology company’s experience in delivering a digital skills training program that is recognised across countries and continents.

NTC’s Head of National Rail Skills, Mandi Mees, said rail needed a portable, national workforce with strong digital skills to be competitive, innovative and productive.

“The MoU will explore ways digital skills can be developed quickly so they are nationally harmonised and recognised across Australia’s rail sector,” he said.

“It’s all part of the bigger picture to support the development of one integrated, interoperable Australian railway system.”

The MoU paves the way for exploratory activities to identify the specific advanced technology and digital rail skills required to build, operate and maintain $155 billion of planned rail investments over the coming decade.

Mees said the partnership would work with the rail industry to identify areas of their operations where digital skills are urgently needed, and put a rail lens over Cisco’s existing digital skills courseware to create a rail focused curriculum.

The training material will be hosted on the National Rail Skills Hub website and made feely available to approved registered training organisations

Cisco’s Networking Academy has been running for 25 years with 11,900 academies across 190 countries.

Cisco Australia and New Zealand transport general manager, Simon Young, said the partnership would enable a dedicated effort to support the rail sector to build the workforce of the future.

The NTC/Cisco partnership aims to provide training in the areas of cybersecurity, networking, internet of things (IoT), data science and programming and may include areas such as culture and change management, career transitioning, learning pathways, resource sharing and learning management system administration.