Moving ahead with a career in rail track: from interest to specialist

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Rail Track

A new qualification is plugging a skills gap in rail track engineering and for recent graduate, Jessica Fallico, turning an interest into a career specialisation.

The Diploma of Engineering Infrastructure (Rail) is transforming the rail industry by providing an accessible, holistic qualification for engineers and technicians.

Over several years, leaders in the NSW rail industry identified a skills gap in foundational rail track engineering. Although longer-term employees had skills built over time, there was no formal industry-specific qualification. Engineers couldn't deepen their expertise or validate their existing skills.

The Diploma was created with the single intent to fill this gap. Graduates understand the 'big picture' of rail track infrastructure, from a strong foundation of skills.

For recent graduate, Jessica Fallico, this meant turning a career interest into a specialisation and a promotion. Here’s what Jessica found to be most beneficial for her career.

Understanding how theory translates to track

As a civil engineer working for Sydney Trains, Jessica recognised that she needed to know more about rail track engineering. Over the course of the Diploma, this all changed as Jessica learned the foundations of track structure interactions.

“The Diploma gave me a great overview of track components, train and track interactions, design and construction, defects, maintenance and operations.”

Jessica reflects, “It felt good when something I’d studied would happen on track in the ‘real world’. I could understand and resolve it competently, applying my deeper knowledge.”

Building confidence for career advancement

Sometimes, a little extra knowledge is what you need to gain an edge and move ahead to senior roles.

“Even though I was a qualified civil engineer, I wanted to understand how track structure interacts in the rail environment. I strongly believe that the knowledge and skills I’ve learnt have made me more capable and confident to perform my role.”

After completing the Diploma, Jessica was promoted to a Senior Track Engineer role with Sydney Trains. The move was smoother because of her wider understanding of all aspects of track assets and infrastructure. Today, Jessica applies her Diploma learnings daily in maintenance and defect management.

Learning straight from industry experts

Jessica says the teaching featured industry veterans who brought knowledge to life.

“I was amazed with the wealth of experience and extensive knowledge provided through the Diploma. Teachers shared their experiences and reviewed tough incidents that they had dealt with over the length of their careers.”

“Because of this experience, assignments involved practical exercises like creating train timetables, planning construction projects, prioritising defects or managing and identifying repairs.”

Flexible study

The Diploma’s structure allows for study to fit around full-time roles, with flexible content and assignments. There’s time for conversation and clarification during the workshops, and live webinars happen in lunch hours. Jessica didn’t miss content, even when she couldn't be there in person. 

“All course contents and assignments were easily accessible online, allowing people to work at their own pace. We were also able to contact the course lecturers online if we had any issues or questions.”

Jessica encourages any track engineering team members to study the Diploma.

"Anyone who is enthusiastic about extending their career in rail track should study the Diploma. It develops an unparalleled understanding of how the whole track structure interacts with all its moving parts.”

“You can study this qualification without a major impact on your work commitments. Learning while working helps you apply new knowledge and put it to work immediately.”

The Diploma of Engineering Infrastructure (Rail) is now open for enrolments in 2021. Backed by Engineering Education Australia and Transport for NSW, the nationally-accredited qualification is delivered by the University of Tasmania. Learn more >