Did you know?

Many trades can be started while you are still at school. Ask your careers advisor about schools-based trades and rail traineeships.

Occupation description

Electrical linesworkers install, maintain, repair and patrol electrical sub-transmission and distribution systems, including transformers, conductors, aerial equipment, high voltage overhead lines, and underground cables and equipment. They attend to electrical breakdowns and emergencies. Important specialisations include: distribution, transmission and railway traction.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

You need to enjoy mathematical and technical activities, be practical and have good hand-eye coordination, eyesight and normal colour vision, diagnostic ability, and able to do precise and detailed work. You will need good communication skills including literacy. You will also use heavy plant equipment and must have a strong regard for safety.

Working conditions

You will be paid while you complete your apprenticeship studies. This is a physically demanding job and you will be mainly working outdoors – sometimes in cramped and confined conditions or at heights. You may have to do shift work.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

  • New Zealand: Electrical trade qualification and post study trade certificate. Entry requirements vary but employers usually require NTEA1 for entrance into a trade course.
  • Australia: Electrical trade qualification such as Certificate III Electricity Supply Industry - Distribution or Cert III in Electricity Supply Industry – Rail Traction and post study trade certificate. Entry requirements vary, but employers usually require Year 10 and many Year 12. In Australia, there are other qualifications in this area which may be offered as an apprenticeship or traineeship. For example, power transmission and distribution, network infrastructure, substations, electricity supply, and operations. For more information on trade qualifications in Australia, go to the training.gov.au website.

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).

For more information

Career paths

Typically, you will progress from an entry level position such as an apprentice, through to more senior roles in your area of specialisation such as team leader or a specialist. Once in the rail industry, to progress your career, you will need to complete additional studies or authorisations which will depend on operational and legislative requirements. In Australia, you may benefit from becoming a member of the Energy Networks Association for help with employment prospects, networking, contact with industry and professional development.

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

In Australia, there are many related qualifications in distribution, transmission and rail traction that may help in your career. 

For more information on related qualifications in Australia

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for an electrical linesworker