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

Occupation description

Like trades workers, engineering technicians in the rail industry perform a variety of skilled tasks, applying broad or in-depth technical, trade or industry-specific knowledge, often in support of engineering activities. A draftsperson prepares detailed drawings and plans to support engineers and technologists, in their area of expertise (for example, civil or electrical engineering).

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Engineering technicians and draftspersons enjoy operating in a dynamic environment and facing new challenges. You need to be able to take responsibility for your designs, installations and management; like solving technical problems and developing creative solutions within technical standards and safety limits. You must have a strong regard for safety.

Working conditions

You may travel and work in both metropolitan and regional areas, and work with temporary rail project teams and other passionate professionals and technicians.  As well as gaining comprehensive training and experience in the rail industry, you may also have the opportunity to develop external experience with private contractors.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

  • New Zealand: Associate degree, advanced diploma or diploma. At least 3 years of relevant experience may substitute for the formal qualifications. In some instances, relevant experience and/or on-the-job training may be required in addition to the formal qualification. Some people may do their training as a cadetship.
  • Australia: Associate degree, advanced diploma or diploma. At least 3 years of relevant experience may substitute for the formal qualifications. In some instances, relevant experience and/or on-the-job training may be required in addition to the formal qualification. Some people may do their training as a cadetship and indigenous scholarships may be available.

Additional tickets, certification, registration or licences may be required to work in the rail corridor, depending on organisational requirements and government legislation. 

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, an engineering technician will progress from an entry level position such as an engineering assistant, through to a more senior position with specialist skills in one of the following areas: project management, operations, asset maintenance, construction and maintenance, design, and development of standards. To progress in this career, you will need to complete additional studies or authorisations.

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.

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for engineering technicians and draftspersons

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