Partnership a win for all

A new partnership is set to create an opportunity for 30 local indigenous people to undertake training in rail infrastructure at the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
Representatives from the VGR, the Centre for Excellence in Rail Training and Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative met at the VGR headquarters at Maldon Station to sign a Memorandum of Understanding last Wednesday.
The initiative will boost local tourist rail infrastructure and generate skilled workers to support the Victorian rail industry.
VGR special projects manager Steve Strangward said the occasion formalised an exciting partnership.
“Together this tripartite team aims to deliver training to and qualification of local indigenous people in rail infrastructure maintenance. The training will largely be through theory and practical engagement on the VGR, which also will deliver an upgraded infrastructure for our future sustainability,” he said.
CERT general manager Mark Haigh said suitable trainees – 20 from Castlemaine and 10 from Daylesford – would be sourced and nominated by BDAC to complete the training in Certificate Two Rail Infrastructure over a period of 30 months focusing on tracks, slippers and ballast.
“We are hopeful that at the completion of their training participants will secure rail jobs in Victoria, as has been the case with similar training programs we have conducted in Western Australia,” he said.
“There are a massive amount of rail infrastructure projects underway in Victoria and the supply of labour cannot keep up with the demand.”
Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards said the state government was set to benefit enormously from the program.
“Vossloh Cogifer Castlemaine has put on additional apprentices. The industry is really booming and with the Ballarat line upgrade and other projects in the pipeline there will be lots of opportunities for these trainees,” she said.
With improved rail infrastructure VGR trains will be able to safely travel at faster speeds allowing the tourist railway to add more services and increase the number of visitors they can cater for each year.
“It’s a win/win for all,” Mr Strangward said.

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.