The Level Crossing Removal Project has created a new program providing job opportunities for engineers from refugee or disadvantaged backgrounds. The Engineering Pathways Industry Cadetship (EPIC) will not only provide support for highly skilled workers needing more local experience, but also help fill current gaps in workforce capability.
With a once-in-a-generation infrastructure build underway in Victoria, the next two decades will see state-shaping infrastructure projects that will have positive and long-term benefits for all Victorians.
These projects will stimulate economic growth, create jobs and ensure Victorian communities maintain a high standard of living.
However, without a well-trained and highly skilled workforce, the infrastructure vision for Victoria will not be possible.
The Training for the Future initiative led by Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) is providing programs that do just that.
Training for the Future has been developed to respond to modern-day rail industry skill needs. It prepares and provides the necessary workforce to deliver an unprecedented amount of work on our rail networks.
Using best practice, this program delivers a new generation of rail talent for Victoria.
It also offers opportunities to re-skill people with relevant experience from industries in decline, as well as training people from refugee and disadvantaged communities.
Diverse backgrounds helping to support demand
One of the program’s key initiatives has seen the creation of the Engineering Pathways Industry Cadetship, known as the EPIC program, as a response to the industry’s ongoing demand for entry level site engineers.
Angela Brown, Manager, Industry Capability and Development at LXRP and one of the developers of the EPIC program, said EPIC finds and recruits qualified engineers from diverse backgrounds and assists them to start a career in major transport infrastructure projects.
“EPIC provides the double benefit of giving people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to use their skills.
The pilot program sees engineering cadets complete the program over 18 months to receive a Graduate Certificate in Engineering through Swinburne University,” Ms Brown said.
“Equally as important, the initiative drives greater social equality outcomes on our transport infrastructure projects.
“All our programs are geared towards future-proofing and ensuring the necessary skills set to deliver on the next two decades of vital transport work.”
Supporting qualified workers
Joseph, a qualified civil engineer and a Syrian refugee with over 20 years’ experience sent out over 200 applications in two years before the EPIC program helped him find a role as an engineer with contractor, CPB on the North East Link Project.
He said after arriving in Australia in 2016, it was very disheartening spending time at home and not being able to work to support his family, especially as he had spent years at university and working as an engineer.
His lack of local experience was a major obstacle, despite his seniority in his field.
“The EPIC program has been so good for me. I have been able to get local experience with local companies, which helped me get my job,” Joseph said.
“It gave me the opportunity to get interviews as well as local experience by working for six months, and studying and getting local qualifications. I’ve received so much support.”
The pilot sees up to 30 engineering cadets complete the program over 18 months to receive a Graduate Certificate in Infrastructure Engineering. This accredited qualification is customised to the requirements of transport infrastructure.
Department of Transport agencies, transport operators, project contractors and industry partners are some of the wide range of program partners taking part by employing EPIC cadets.
For more information on the Engineering Pathways Industry Cadetship visit: railacademy.vic.gov.au/news-and-events/be-a-part-of-the-epic-solution