Did you know?

Many rail organisations have indigenous scholarships to encourage young people into rail careers. These include cadetships, school-based traineeships and apprenticeships. Check out the careers page of organisations in your area.

Occupation description

Mechanics in the rail industry maintain heavy on-track machinery including track and point regulators, overhead wiring machines, motorised and mechanised hand tools and rolling stock. They also work with hydraulics and pneumatics and electronic program logic control principles.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

You will need to enjoy practical and manual activities, have a mechanical aptitude, be good at mathematics and be physically fit. You need at least Year 10 with good results in English and Maths, and have a strong regard for safety.

Working conditions

You will be paid while you complete your apprenticeship studies. You may travel and work in metropolitan and regional locations to develop your skills. You may also work with private contractors. This is a physically demanding job and you will be mainly working in busy (sometimes noisy) workshops.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

  • New Zealand: Mechanical engineering trade qualification and post study trade certificate. Entry requirements vary but employers usually require NTEA1 for entrance into a trade course with good results in maths and English. You will be expected to up-skill as technology changes through in-house or external training and certifications.
  • Australia: Mechanical trade qualification such as Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical, or Certificate III in Automotive (Heavy Mechanical) plus post study trade certificate. Entry requirements vary but employers usually require Year 10. You will be expected to up-skill as technology changes through in-house or external training and certifications.

Some organisations may also run a mechanical traineeship. 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


The following YouTube clip is from: Inspirational Indigenous Stories. You will hear Ben Humphreys talking about working as a mechanic for RailCorp. His trade is: Automotive (Heavy Vehicle Mechanical) (Industrial) Certificate III

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 a supervisor or technical specialist. Plant mechanics are a vital part of infrastructure projects. The rail industry offers a wide range of opportunities. 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. You may decide to continue your study to become a professional mechanical engineer.

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 mechanical trades