Signalling & Communications, Workforce, Certification & Training

Training facility for rail signalling completed in WA

training facility

A purpose-built training facility for rail careers has been completed in Western Australia, with the first cohort of students to address a critical skills shortage in the rail industry.

The Metronet Trade Training Centre at North Metropolitan TAFE’s Midland campus is now complete. A focus of getting the site up and running is addressing the lack of rail signalling engineers.

Students at the facility will progress through courses in rail signalling and electrical rail signalling qualification. Those with a WA electrical licence will be able to undertake a Certificate IV in Electrical Rail Signalling at the campus from Semester 2, 2021.

A pilot group of employees from rail companies including Rio Tinto will be the first to commence the Certificate IV in Electrical Rail Signalling beginning in Semester 1, 2021.

Industry has also been involved in the physical infrastructure on site, with specialised equipment for the new workshops supplied by industry. This will give students a hands-on appreciation for the complexities of rail signalling prior to completing their studies.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the campus would prepare the workforce for WA’s pipeline of rail infrastructure. Currently, there are seven Metronet projects under construction with four in the procurement phase.

“We are spending almost $12 billion on building transport infrastructure over the next four years, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses,” said Saffioti.

“We want to make sure Western Australians have the skills they need to capitalise on this huge investment and ensure there is a pipeline of workers available to fill these roles.”

The signalling component the Metronet program, the High Capacity Signalling Project, involves upgrading existing signalling and control systems with Communications-Based Train Control Technology (CBTC) and is currently in the planning phase.

In the 2020 federal budget, an extra $102.3m was allocated to the project and in May Infrastructure Australia identified the project as a priority project and added it to the Infrastructure Priority List.

To encourage more students to take up courses at the Metronet Trade Training Centre, a number of courses that will be delivered at the facility have had fees cut as part of the Lower fees, local skills initiative. The program enables those under 25 or those looking for work to pay no more than $400 in annual course fees.

Courses in this program include:

  • Certificate II and III in Electrotechnology;
  • Certificate II in Engineering (Heavy Fabrication; Light Fabrication; Mechanical Fitter and Machinist);
  • Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade (Heavy/Welding YH; Light YC; Fitter and Machinist ZB; Mechanical Fitter ZA);
  • Certificate II in Engineering Pathways;
  • Certificate IV in Engineering;
  • Certificate IV in Electrical – Instrumentation; and
  • Diploma of Engineering – Advanced Trade.

WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said a wide variety of courses would be on offer.

“North Metropolitan TAFE’s Midland campus is well placed to train WA workers for futures in rail manufacturing and operations, with courses available to meet the diverse Metronet training needs, including engineering, metal fabrication, instrumentation, electrotechnology and electronics.”