Q?

I want to become a rail signal technician. What do I need to do?

A.

To become a qualified rail signal maintenance technician you need to be employed by an authorised Australian rail operator (eg MetroTrains Melbourne, ARTC) or a rail infrastructure construction company (eg John Holland Group, UGL Limited) as either an APPRENTICE rail signalling technician or as a TRAINEE signalling technician.

As an apprentice, you'll be undertaking a Certificate III in Electrotechnology (Electrician) and at the same time you'll start your Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling.

If you're a trainee you'll already hold your electrical trade qualification, which means you're eligible to enrol in the Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling.

Holding the electrical trade qualification is an essential pre-requisite to being able to complete the Certificate IV.

Q?

What are the assessment requirements for the Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling?

A.

Learners undertaking rail signalling training can expect to complete three stages of assessment for each learning module/unit to demonstrate competence:

  1. a research assignment that allows you to develop your knowledge further by applying the learning to your workplace context
  2. a written theory test of your knowledge; completing the assignment is essential preparation for undertaking the theory test
  3. workplace practical assessments (WPA) – the final, critical determinant of competence that asks you to apply knowledge and skills in routine maintenance and reactive (unforeseen problem solving) maintenance situations; depending on the unit of competency and on employer requirements, a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 or more WPAs may be required.

In all stages of assessment, learners must comply with and/or demonstrate safety-critical requirements of the job role.

Q?

How long does it take to complete the Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling?

A.

For apprentices, the Certificate IV course is typically completed in 4 years. This allows for about 3½ years of training and another 6 months for putting together all the knowledge and skills learned, applying them in the workplace, and then completing workplace practical assessments.

Trainees who already hold their electrical trade qualification typically complete the training in 2 years or less.

Q?

How do I obtain RPL for the Certificate IV in Rail Signalling?

A.

A person seeking recognition of prior learning (RPL) for the UEE41211 Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling must meet all qualification pre-requisite requirements.

There are two critical aspects to meeting pre-requisites.

  1. The first is that you must hold a current Australian Unrestricted Electricians Licence or equivalent (eg an 'A Class' electrician licence). Without this, an applicant is unable to meet the electrical trade component and their RPL claim cannot proceed.
  2. Next, the applicant must be able to demonstrate currency of skills against each unit of competency that forms the qualification. HRD requires that you: a) undertake practical assessment to demonstrate your skills and knowledge; and b) support your application with workplace documents that substantiate recent use of skills in a live rail environment.

Note: HRD does not regard a log book as valid or definitive supporting evidence in the same way as signed and dated workplace forms. Log books may be presented to supplement recognised workplace documents but don't replace workplace evidence.

If you're considering RPL, before contacting HRD you should visit the RPL with HRD page for detailed information about the RPL process.

Prospective RPL applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the UEE41211 Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling qualification packaging rules (www.training.gov.au) before contacting HRD.

Q?

I’m a signals engineer. Can I obtain the Certificate IV by RPL?

A.

A person seeking RPL for the UEE41211 Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling must meet all qualification pre-requisite requirements.

There are two critical aspects to meeting pre-requisites.

  1. The first is that you must hold a current Australian Unrestricted Electricians Licence or equivalent (eg an 'A Class' electrician licence). Without this, an applicant is unable to meet the electrical trade component and their RPL claim cannot proceed.
  2. Next, the applicant must be able to demonstrate currency of skills against each unit of competency that forms the qualification. HRD requires that you: a) undertake practical assessment to demonstrate your skills and knowledge; and b) support your application with workplace documents that substantiate recent use of skills in a live rail environment.

Note: a log book is not regarded as definitive supporting evidence in the same way as signed and dated workplace forms. Log books may be presented to supplement recognised workplace documents.

The training and role requirements for a signals engineer are different to those of a trade-qualified signals maintainer. As a rule of thumb, an Electrical Engineer, regardless of whether or not their qualification specialises in rail signalling, would find it difficult to substantiate the application of trade skills in a live rail environment.

Prospective RPL applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the UEE41211 Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling qualification packaging rules (www.training.gov.au) before contacting HRD.

Q?

Why do I need to be employed in rail/rail signalling to undertake the Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling?

A.

Employment with a rail operator is essential because you need to have access to working signalling infrastructure to be able to complete your training.

Rail operators prefer to have personnel trained to meet their requirements. Without access to signalling equipment you can't practise the knowledge and skills you develop during training.

Training is also costly, so the support of an employer is essential. Added to this, vacancies for signal maintenance personnel are limited by rail operator requirements. Employers hire and train in response to their needs. There's no value in training someone for a job that's not there.