$20 million investment in new rail tech tafe

Australasian Railway Association ARA Y-LAB

The Labor Party has promised to invest $20 million towards a purpose-built Rail Technology Campus (RTC) at the Chullora rail precinct to train sector employees.

The plan would put TAFE at the centre of a new rail technology campus to train local tradespeople for local jobs, and to secure New South Wales’ transport future.

The RTC would train rail sector employees to construct, operate and maintain rail systems in a wide range of industry and government organisations.

The Government would partner with industry, unions, the NSW Government and its agencies to establish the campus to provide skills for the growing rail sector.

A fully-fledged Rail Technology Campus would have the following facilities:

  • Digital learning labs
  • Housing for rail fleet traction (carriages)
  • Virtual reality simulators
  • Electrical substation and electrical infrastructure
  • Various track configurations and turnout types connected to the main line
  • Axle counters, and digitised ballises (signals)
  • Mechanical plant and workshops
  • Welding facilities – such as wire feed welding, alumina-thermic welding, rough cutting, grinding and ultrasonic testing

The investment is predicated on the Rail Technology Campus operating as a partnership between TAFE NSW, NSW government rail agencies, Sydney Trains, unions and a range of principal contractors and rail vendors.

Co-investment from the NSW Government will be required, including a commitment to put public TAFE at the centre of rail training. Ongoing commitment from industry will also be required.

Once established, up to 3,000 tradespeople and 400 rail workers could graduate from the Rail Technology Campus each year.

Projections by BIS Oxford Economics show ten years of growing demand for skills in the rail sector given the $100 billion of investment in rail coming online over the next decade.

Labor has also committed to more than $1 billion in additional investment in TAFE, including:

  • $50 million for 10,000 pre-apprenticeship programs
  • $83 million to support 20,000 Adult Apprentices
  • $200 million Building TAFE for the Future Fund
  • $380 million to waive the upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students
  • $334 million for 150,000 additional Apprentice Incentives
  • $12 million to support women into trades
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