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.

The importance of tradespeople, technicians and infrastructure workers to rail

There has never been a better time to be a technician, tradesperson or infrastructure worker in the rail industry because of the massive investment to rebuild and modernise the industry. Projects include new substations to power trains, new digital train radio systems, the next generation of suburban passenger trains, light rail and new freight corridors, stations and many more.

What do these projects all have in common?

They need the skills of tradespeople and specialised technicians as well as infrastructure workers. Some tradespeople and technicians may also be called 'engineers' and have vocational engineering qualifications rather than a professional Bachelor Degree in Engineering. Tradespeople and technicians will often work closely with engineers.

The rail industry also employs many tradespeople and technicians from overseas.

Anyone with qualifications from overseas must have their qualifications assessed in Australia. See Useful Links below for details about how to do this.

Useful links

Trades associations and unions can also provide information for overseas trained tradespeople and technicians on what they need to do to be employed in Australia.

Examples of rail projects

The main trades, technical and infrastructure careers in the rail industry

Electrical and communications

This includes electrical trades such as a cable jointer, electrical linesworker and a rolling stock electrician. Careers in the telecommunications trades are growing rapidly as technology develops, and apprenticeships are now available in the areas of telecommunications, control systems, and systems maintenance.


Auto careers are important to the reail industry because they are responsible for taking care of the presentation of rolling stock, for example repairing seats and floor coverings. The main auto trades are vehicle body trimmers and vehicle body builders.


The main mechanical trades include refridgeration and air conditioning (which covers both electrical and mechanical areas), plant mechanic and fitter and turner.

Metal fabrication

People involved in metal fabrication cut, shape, join and finish metal to make, maintain and repair metal products (such as bridge parts and doors) and rail structures (such as bridges and towers). Metal fabricators are also called boilermakers and specialise to become boiler makers (heavy fabrication), sheet metal workers (light fabrication) or welders.

Engineering technicians and draftspersons

Engineering technicians preform skilled tasks and apply broad or in-depth technical, trade or industry specific knowledge and often work with engineers.  Draftspersons provide support to engineers and technologists by preparing detailed drawings and plans. Engineering technicians and draftspersons are also known as mechanical draftspersons or cad operators.


Without infrastructure or track workers, the physical work to build and maintain rail infrastructure assets and equipment would not take place. These workers are also called track workers, track inspectors, bridges and structures workers or labourers. Today, infrastructure workers need to be not only physically strong but able to up-skills as technology changes,