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

This is a rapidly evolving sector with new jobs as technology develops. These jobs in the rail industry utilise state-of-the-art technology to design, develop, implement and repair radio, complex telecommunications and train control systems. Generally, the rail industry offers apprenticeships for the following specialisations:

  • Telecommunications: You will learn to maintain, operate and repair communications and control systems as well as install, configure, operate, maintain, troubleshoot and repair telecommunications and train control services.
  • Control systems: You may work in hardware and software development, systems integration, project delivery, train signalling, maintenance and asset lifecycle management.
  • Condition monitoring: You will assist with fixing faults and conduct maintenance on the systems which may include hot box detectors, dragging equipment detectors, wheel impact load detectors and acoustic bearing monitors.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

You need to be practical and able to work independently, have good hand coordination, ability to diagnose and an inquisitive mind. You need to be able to do precise and detailed work, have an interest in maths and technical activities, and be physically fit. It is also very important to have good literacy skills. You must 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, and work with both public and private contractors. You also may be called out during emergencies at any time of the day or night and in all weather conditions.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

  • New Zealand: Telecommunications related 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 up-skill, as technology changes, through training and certifications.
  • Australia: Telecommunications-related trade qualification such as Certificate III in Telecommunications plus post study trade certificate. Entry requirements vary but employers usually require Year 10. You will up-skill, as technology changes, through training.

This is an area where a range of telecommunication trade qualifications exist and new ones are being developed as technology changes. For example, apprenticeships may be offered in telecommunications cabling, electricity supply – rail traction, digital reception technology and telecommunications rigging installation.

Additional tickets, certification, registration or licences may be required to work in the rail corridor.

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 a supervisor or specialist. Once in the rail industry, you will need to complete additional studies or authorisations which will depend on operational and government requirements to progress.

In Australia, there are related qualifications that may help in your career. These qualifications range from certificate IV through to diploma and advanced diploma and include network planning, network technology, telecommunications and radio communications, electronics and communications, network engineering, and optical networks. In Australia, you may benefit from joining the Energy Networks Association for help with your employment prospects.

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.

 For more information on related qualifications in Australia

Related Jobs

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

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career paths for telecommunications and control system workers