Signals Electrical Mechanic
I was a Communications Technician originally, but after working for fifteen years I wanted to do something different. I was after a career in the electrical trade with job security, outdoor work and the opportunity to combine on-the job training with a TAFE course. That was almost five years ago now. I started as an Apprentice Signal Electrician, and initially worked with the Electrical Branch looking after high voltage sub-stations that supply the overhead for trains and power to stations and signalling locations. In the signals discipline I worked across maintenance, construction and support.
For the past eight months I’ve been a Signals Electrical Mechanic. I maintain the rail network signals so our trains run on time and reach their destinations safely. It’s a really rewarding job! The best part of my day is knowing I’m preventing signal failures and train delays, so more people can get home on time. I think doing a trade-based course was the best thing. I’ve been able to complete a trade without paying for TAFE fees and books, and while studying I was getting paid a wage! I’ve now completed my TAFE course, and was recently awarded the JJ Cuff Memorial Prize for the Certificate III Electrical Apprentice with the highest aggregate grade in NSW. The $500 prize money was a bonus! Not bad for someone who had no knowledge of the rail industry five years ago!
My company gives apprentices heaps of opportunities to expand our skills. I’ve been on the apprentice team competing in the National Energy Safety Solutions Competition twice. Our team of four came second both times. We did well, considering the scenarios were based on jobs done more in energy companies than rail. My next goal is to become a Signal Electrician and drive the XPT from Sydney to Melbourne, not as a career but for the experience!
Bombardier Transportation Australia (BTA)
I was offered a part administration role in the rail industry. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to work whilst completing my degree. I soon learnt how much technology and engineering was involved in railway and I was moved into my undergraduate role.
My role as Project Engineer involves a wide variety of activities including:
- producing configuration data for all subsystems including safety critical data
- liaising with the client to ensure that the design expectations are met
- resolving technical issues with the system engineers in Sweden
- managing design teams in India and Moscow
- continuously learning and collaborating in teams at all levels.
My career journey has been exactly the way I like it: challenging! I enjoy putting myself out of my comfort zone, learning new technologies and experiencing new cultures. For me, the journey has only just begun!
Electrical Compliance Supervisor
Throughout high school, I was interested in architecture and building and never thought I’d want to become an electrician. However, I accepted an electrical apprenticeship with a rail organisation when I left school and have never looked back.
My employer is so big that I’ve had the opportunity to work in lots of departments. As my experience has grown over the years, I’ve become more involved with final testing and commissioning.
I’m now an Electrical Compliance Supervisor. My role is to ensure electrical compliance across the whole passenger fleet, ensuring that people that catch or work on trains are safe from electrical shocks. I provide electrical advice, conduct audits, train staff and develop work procedures. Every day I learn something new!
I’ve been given the opportunity on many occasions to relieve as a testing officer, and lead large crews of tradesmen.
I recently relieved as a Depot Manager in Cairns. My company has supported me all the way, building my career with further study and promotional opportunities. I’ve come a long way since starting my electrical apprenticeship.
I plan to move into engineering or management in the future, and I know my company will help me undertake a Bachelor of Engineering to achieve this.
One of the best things about my job is the balance between work and family. Flexible working arrangements and compassionate managers with high family values allow me to attend my son’s sporting events, and flexible start and finishing times allow me to drop my children at school.
The rail industry is committed to safety, improvement and reliability. It’s diverse, with many exciting roles. Importantly, the career possibilities are endless with plenty of opportunities for career progression.
I’m planning on staying in rail for a long time, and building my rail career even further.