TAFE Queensland’s foray into the realm of rail training has provided some challenges, specifically finding an individual with vast amounts of rail knowledge and experience, but more importantly someone who has the passion to impart knowledge. The search led us to Mick Scott.
“For as long as I’ve known Mick, he’s always been a railway man."
This is how Mick Scott’s first boss and mentor in rail introduced him over the 30 years Mick has worked as a rail bridge carpenter and manufacturer.
“I watched other trainers and how they made a difference in other people’s lives. I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I am glad I did, and now I am proud of that. When the position of rail trainer was advertised at TAFE Queensland, I made a decision that it was a wonderful opportunity that combined the two things I have wanted for a long time - teaching and rail,” explained Mick.
Currently more than 10,000 people are directly employed by the rail industry in Queensland, offering a diverse and rewarding suite of career options. Mick explained that once rail had entered his bloodstream it was hard to envision himself doing anything else.
“Rail is its own little world and as you get around, your world grows. Your knowledge and experience grows and you become a different person. It has its own language and is definitely a bond that is shared forever. It’s a comradery like nothing else. I’ve rarely been to a town or city anywhere in Queensland without recognising somebody that I have worked with over the years.”
Earlier this year Aurizon and Queensland Rail both discontinued training recruits in the Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure, which is the fundamental training required by anyone who enters the industry.
This provided an opportunity for TAFE Queensland who, having recently partnered with Queensland Rail to build the Rail Centre of Excellence at Acacia Ridge, were already armed to deliver the training.
The Rail Centre of Excellence is the first of its kind, a huge, fully-simulated rail working environment including 100 metres of track, overhead line equipment, rail components, signalling resources and technical classrooms. Everything that makes Mick feel right at home.
“Local Queensland Rail structure teams have begun to construct concrete piers and bridge piles for a small rail bridge as well. This is to assist in the training of bridge staff, which opens up a whole new world as training for timber rail bridges no longer exists anywhere in Queensland,” said Mick.
Since the launch of the Rail Centre of Excellence and the introduction of Mick, TAFE Queensland is continuing to grow its rail training in response to an increasing demand from both private corporations and government. The move comes due to a shift in industry training, where corporations are beginning to move away from traditional in-house training to outsourcing, where more up-to-date skills in new and developing technology are being delivered.
The rail Industry has been forecast to grow operations ahead of 2020 as rail has proven to be the logistic solution of choice for Australia’s coal and iron ore industry, as well as maintaining a bustling commuter and tourism function across the continent.
With the expansion and maintenance of track across the country and the number of people employed by the rail industry expected to grow, rail offers a diverse employment opportunity for both the skilled and unskilled workforce.
You get the impression that Mick wears the “railway man” badge with immense pride and when questioned about what advice he would have for anyone looking to enter the rail industry he shared:
“If you’re thinking of a career in rail, definitely do it. Be prepared to travel, work hard and be rewarded for a job well done. There are so many career pathways in rail and with the Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure now readily available through TAFE Queensland, the opportunity is there for the taking.”