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Occupation description

This is not an entry level role. In the rail industry, a contract officer will have a varied role. You may work with the contract manager on very large infrastructure projects as well as obtaining the best pricing, quality and service from vendors and suppliers. You may also work with lawyers to draft contracts and lease documents relating to land and buildings. Contract officers regularly communicate with external vendors, business partners and even government agencies via phone, email or written correspondence regarding current and potential commercial contracts and tenders. You may help prepare tender documents for contracts, assist with budgets and other specific project documentation, and provide purchase requisitions concerning goods and services required for a project or work order package.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

To succeed in this role, an individual must have excellent people skills, experience in accounting and bookkeeping, and knowledge of computer applications used in the field of procurement and purchasing. You must be able to work under pressure and have an eye for detail.

Working conditions

Contract officers work standard office work hours Monday to Friday and are based in offices. They require the ability to work under pressure as submitting tender and contract deadlines loom. You may need to liaise closely with others both internally and external to the organisation including government representatives.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

You can become a contract officer without formal qualifications but employers usually require completion of relevant secondary school qualifications.  Typically, you would have studied finance, business or accounting subjects at associate degree or advanced diploma levels. Applicants with high level maths and working towards qualifications in finance or accounting are encouraged to apply. You will need to up-skill as technology and computer applications used in the field of procurement and purchasing evolve.

The value of a career in the rail industry

For even more details on what you might earn, the diversity of companies you could work for and the career opportunities available, visit the following careers and training websites. Careers in Rail by the Australasian Railway Association; About the Rail Industry by Rail Skills Australasia and Rail Training by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

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Career paths

Your career may take many turns depending on what stage you are at in life and your personal circumstances. You may work with rail partners on large infrastructure projects. Once in the rail industry, to progress your career you will need to complete additional studies which depending on organisational and state requirements.

Typically, a contract officer would start in a role assisting the contract manager. With experience and further studies in areas such as accounting, common or civil law, risk management, and high experience in contract administration, you could become a senior contract administrator and then a contract manager.

This information is generic. Job titles and the experience and qualifications needed to move into other jobs may vary slightly depending on the structure and needs of your organisation, and government rules and regulations.

Related Jobs

The jobs below may require additional qualifications as well as experience.

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for a contract/s officer