Signal Inspector Shane Attwood’s upgraded training and assessment qualification through the National Workforce Development Fund is “giving back” to his employer and his bushfire brigade.
Attwood, firstly an electrician by trade, joined West Australian infrastructure group Brookfield Rail as a trainee signal technician five years ago, and was promoted to signal inspector last year.
He held a Fire and Emergency Services department TAA certificate as a volunteer trainer of Bush Fire Service volunteers, just outside Perth where he lives with his wife, son, and “lots of animals”.
Brookfield Rail then secured a round of training under the NWDF, assisted by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council, so Attwood upgraded his qualification to a TAE Certificate IV.
The upgrade “allows us to deliver and assess employees’ training, and develop courses and assessment tools. It gives us a wider role than what we had under the TAA qualification,” he says.
As a signal inspector, Attwood ensures the technicians’ maintenance on the network’s signals, crossings, points and switches is “up to standard” for rail safety as well as reliable freight and passenger services, both of which have been predicted to double between 2011 and 2016.
Developing internal expertise shores up the company’s future. People like Shane are the experts, so they are the best people for us to use.
Inspecting accounts for about two-thirds of his time, while training and assessing take a third, butAttwood says there is a high crossover between the two roles in the time and skill set on the job.
“Training is out in the field each day, giving instruction and allowing an apprentice to learn new skills through practice,” Attwood says. “It’s not just a formal classroom situation.”
The Basic Electrical Signalling course, for example, introduces trainee signal technicians to competencies through theory and practical application. Brookfield Rail’s training manager, Judy Reynolds, who first met Attwood in her previous role as a bush fire service trainer, says developing internal expertise shores up the company’s future.
“People like Shane are the experts, so they are the best people for us to use,” Reynolds says.
“We’re very happy with that process. Particularly Shane, he really enjoys the training role, so we all benefit. It keeps the training area happy and it keeps the employees happy.”
Attwood enjoys both his work and the company he works for, and says he’ll still be in both in five years’ time.
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