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Jobs shortage remains in the Rail Industry

07/05/2009

A recent report by HR consultancy Infohrm found Australia’s rail industry investment was being threatened by 40% of employees approaching retirement age and a dearth of training over the past 20 years.

The report estimated that even if the current numbers in operational roles were maintained, retirements and lack of available specialised skilled resources would result in a shortfall of between 2200 and 3200 employees.

Mr Howe said the industry was going through a catch-up period as investment returned and rail became a relevant career choice again. He said one of the most significant concerns of recent years has been the lack of Graduate Engineers entering the industry.

To overcome this, O’Donnell Griffin has developed its own Rail Engineering Graduate program, offering post graduate studies in Rail Signaling, offered by the Central Queensland University.

Mr Howe advised ODG is recruiting recently graduated dual degree engineers and sponsoring each graduate through the Rail Signaling degree by correspondence over three years. The first graduate intake to commence the course has just completed its first year at Central Queensland University and a second intake has commenced in 2009.

“However, even with the added bonus of competitive salary packages to attract these high quality graduates to the industry, there remains an ongoing critical shortage of people for the positions available,” he said.

“The revival of Rail Industry investment has led to an increase in interest in the rail sector from those graduates with a double degree in electrical and mechanical engineering.

“The transformation that has occurred with the industry has made it a keenly sought after vocation. It might be a different choice to I.T. and Construction engineering that normally attract graduates, but the scope for challenging and diverse job opportunities in the Australian rail industry is extraordinary,” he said

While developing its own staff ODG is currently recruiting a high proportion of its senior management off shore, including from the UK. In fact, in 2009, ODG will be turning its attention to South Africa, the Sub Continent and Eastern Bloc countries to fill positions in specialised trades such as Signal Maintenance Technicians.

Mr Howe concludes: “As the rail infrastructure program continues unabated, we will continue to bolster our ranks by upskilling existing signaling electricians via various training courses that are conducted on a state by state basis around Australia, to further support the national shortfall in skilled resources, and to allow ODG the opportunity to continue to better meet market demands in the coming years.

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