Rail training heads down a co-operative track
9 June, 2005
Rail industry training heads down a co-operative track
Training in the railway industry was propelled into a new era with the official launch of new rail training qualifications by the Minister for Education, Trevor Mallard, in Wellington this morning.
The qualifications have been developed specifically for New Zealand's new rail environment by the industry training organisation, Competenz, in association with members of the rail industry including Transfield Services, Connex, On Track and Toll Rail.
While a variety of different rail qualifications are currently available throughout New Zealand, this is the first qualification that addresses the new industry structure which includes a number of operators.
The training programmes have been on trial in the industry since last year and have already proven popular with both employees and employing companies. Nearly 50 trainees from across New Zealand are enrolled in the programme and the first graduates will complete their training in 2006.
The qualifications are the National Certificate in Rail Operations (Locomotive Engineering) Level Three and Four, and the National Certificate in Rail Infrastructure. They are aimed at providing formal training and recognition for train drivers and those involved with maintaining the rail infrastructure.
They take account of the diversity of personal interests, backgrounds and career objectives of candidates by allowing trainees to choose up to 30 unit standards that suit their own requirements. The new programmes also recognise the use of general industry qualifications within rail, and encourage the transfer of people from other branches of the rail industry.
Competenz' Chief Executive, John Broadhead, says rail industry employees can now gain formal recognition for their jobs and follow a clearly defined career path within the rail industry.
"These are important new qualifications for the rail industry and will play a key role in providing skilled people to run a rebuilt rail infrastructure," he says.
"The New Zealand rail industry has been undergoing a significant period of change and now has quite a different structure with a number of key stakeholders. It was time to establish new training programmes that meet the needs of personnel and stakeholders," says Mr Broadhead.
"It is important to ensure there are skilled people to run the trains and the network. They all have important roles to play in the future of New Zealand's economic well-being and as such their importance cannot be understated."