About Rail Skills Australasia
Over the next decade the rail industry will face several combined factors that will pose significant growth opportunities both domestically and internationally. To take advantage of these opportunities the rail industry will need to ensure it has world class rail capability, underpinned by a world class rail workforce.
Rail Skills Australasia grew out of the Rail Leaders Group which formed in July 2008. The Group’s membership represented national industry interests and was formed for the purpose of planning a whole of industry response to ensure a skilled and resilient rail workforce capable of sustaining and growing the industry well into the future. This investment in skills has wider benefits to the community including improved safety for rail workers and the general community, improved and expanded rail services to serve the wider community and the business community, reduction in carbon emissions as more of the freight and passenger load is shifted to rail, and improved rail services to a wide range of communities in Australia.
In mid-2009, the Rail Leaders Group unanimously agreed to support the establishment of Rail Skills Australasia to be based in Queensland as the key plank for the industry to lead a workforce development and planning strategy to achieve this objective. The Group elected an Interim Board to develop the company. Rail Skills Australasia (RSA) was launched at AUsRail on 22nd October 2011.
The way forward
The Rail Leaders Group identified that an industry level strategic response is only possible if the industry has a mechanism to lead the collaborative efforts of businesses within the rail industry. The group recommended this leadership and direction be enabled through the formation of RSA. The critical mass of industry and training providers exists to create this new collaborative venture to address current and future skills needs.
RSA will lead industry and government engagement on all aspects of vocational education and training, higher education, specialised rail skills development initiatives, industry attraction and retention strategies and whole of industry workforce planning. The company will ensure that current and projected skill needs are identified and met at regional and state levels, and ensure appropriate levels of workforce development activity at industry and enterprise levels can meet these projected needs.
Structure of the Rail Skills Australasia: RSA is a membership based organization comprising rail industry firms and peak bodies in the rail sector. The company will be funded by rail industry companies who are able to join as members and who are asked to make a financial contribution in this foundation year. Revenue growth into the future will be generated on a fee for service basis. RSA aims to be self-funding by 2015/16.
A new level of service on workforce and skills development: Rail Skills Australasia introduces a new level of industry service to member firms and to industry. Member firms receive value at three levels – generic skills needs are more effectively addressed, industry level skills formation better meet the rail industry’s needs, and member companies receive a tailored service to meet their own requirements. Members with needs will be assisted by a client manager who will work with the firm to identify skills needs, plan to meet these needs, and assist with training brokerage, develop training resources and deliver tailored services to meet firms’ needs.
The Queensland Government has provided $1.5m seed funding for RSA and the industry will provide revenue to create a self sustaining organisation. Rail Skills Australasia Limited is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. RSA is now operational with a company Board and Chair, an appointed CEO, and initial members.