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First Rail Graduates Evidence Of Industry Upskill

19 May 2004

First Rail Graduates Evidence Of Industry Upskill

Transfield Services committed to expansion of rail industry skills through long-term training initiatives

After 27 years in the rail industry, Hopa Bell is a veteran, and now also one of New Zealand’s first graduates of the National Rail Certificate Programme, an NZQA accredited rail qualification that is the first of its kind in the history of the New Zealand rail industry. The Programme was established and is administered by infrastructure maintenance provider Transfield Services in conjunction with Competenz New Zealand.

The graduation of the Programme’s first students is a positive sign for an industry faced with an ageing workforce and a shortage of skilled workers.

The National Rail Certificate Programme was developed with the objective of upskilling the current labour force and providing a comprehensive training pathway within the rail industry.

The ‘earn while you learn’ Certificate recognises existing competencies rail workers have gained during their time in the industry and incorporates a range of rail skills, with safety being a major component.

Track inspector Hopa Bell is pleased that he now has a formal qualification to show for his experience and skills in a trade he has been involved with for so many years.

“I had limited formal education and so this has been an opportunity for me to develop the skills I have learned over the years by completing some training and getting a nationally recognised qualification in an industry I love,” said Mr Bell.

Hopa Bell is one of the first graduates among the 384 Transfield Services employees currently working towards achieving the National Rail Certificate.

This long-term initiative - a finalist for Competenz' New Zealand knowledge in Action Award for "outstanding commitment to industry training" - is one of a few that Transfield Services are currently involved in. Earlier this month the company launched New Zealand’s first NZQA registered rail school to recruit and train people to join the rail workforce.

Transfield Services’ NZ General Manager, Tony Fisher, says that his company is committed to investing in the rail industry by both growing the workforce and upskilling current workers.

“Employees such as Hopa who have been an important part of this industry for many years can now gain a formal qualification to show for it, while others entering the industry can obtain transferable skills and recognised qualifications,” said Mr Fisher.

“The government has committed to spending $200 million on the network in New Zealand and so the industry needs to be prepared. These are significant, very necessary investments into our rail workforce and ultimately the safety and efficacy of New Zealand’s rail network.”

Transfield Services is contracted to Toll NZ to maintain New Zealand’s entire rail network – more than 4200 kilometres of track. This includes the provision of all track, civil, structural, signals, electrification and communications infrastructure maintenance, asset renewal, breakdown and incident response services.

The first lot of graduates of the National Rail Certificate Programme will attend a graduation ceremony to be held in Auckland on the 20 May 2004 (tomorrow).

About Transfield Services NZ Ltd Transfield Services, an ASX listed company is the provider of over NZ$1 billion of operations and maintenance services in New Zealand and Australia across a broad range of industries including rail, road, oil and gas, IT systems, water utilities, telecommunications, facilities management, defence, power and minerals.

ENDS

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