For years Aurora De Cardenas thought home ownership was out of reach, but thanks to a new career path at Metro trains, she hopes to buy her first home in 2023.

“That’s the plan this year, we feel very lucky to be able to be in this position now,” Ms De Cardenas said.

Since the birth of her first daughter 12 months ago, Aurora’s previous role as a contractor where the hours and work were sporadic, no longer worked for her family. Now, as a Facilities Works Officer, Aurora inspects Metro’s 222 stations, scheduling any works needed to keep the network’s assets in shape.

Not being chained to a desk has been one of the best aspects of her job.

“My office can be anywhere on the network – you never know where you’ll be,” Ms De Cardenas said.

Aurora is one of an increasing number of women changing careers and joining the rail industry.

“I came with only my high school certificate. You get a lot of training in this job, you can move around within the company and try so many different things,” Ms De Cardenas said.

Metro Trains is currently recruiting for more than 60 positions, from project managers to track inspectors. On top of this, Metro is also on the lookout for the next intake of train drivers.

The new batch of trainees will join an established team of more than 1,100 drivers. With no experience needed for many positions and a generous pay packet, it’s hoped those who hadn’t thought a railway career was for them, may change their mind.

According to Metro Trains CEO, Raymond O’Flaherty, attracting those who wouldn’t have previously considered a career in the railways, requires marketing some roles differently.

“Industries like nursing and hospitality have really transferable skills while still being safety-focused and would make great candidates for many roles we have as we provide a lot of the training,” Mr O’Flaherty said.

In 2022, Metro clocked up an Australian first, recruiting its 500th female driver which has now risen to 533. In 2009, when Metro began operating the trains in Melbourne, there were only 26 female drivers. Metro is the first operating railway company made up of 37 per cent female drivers.

“At Metro, we want our team to reflect the community that we serve. This means committing to a more diverse and inclusive workplace and we hope that more people consider the benefits a rail career can offer,” Mr O’Flaherty said.

Aurora too hopes more women consider joining the rail industry.

“Work and life balance is hard to find and Metro ticks all the boxes. I’m really happy,” Ms De Cardenas said.

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