Why did you pursue a career in the rail industry?
Getting into rail as a graduate engineer almost 10 years ago, just happened. When I graduated, I started with a Geotechnical Consultancy as a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer, 6 months later, I took a role with Rio Tinto as a Graduate Civil Engineer with their Rail Division in the Pilbara, Western Australia. At the time, moving on to work for Rio Tinto was just my next job. My university studies did not particularly prepare me for a career in rail and I believe this is the case with engineering graduates across Australia. At the time I did not have rail exposure from organisations like the RTAA or ARA at the time. Instead, I learnt on the job and rail has since formed my career path.
What is the most challenging project or innovation that you have been involved in, in your career and what did you learn?
I have recently been involved in the transition of the new Sydney Light Rail (CSELR) into operation and maintenance. This was an exciting period for us to be able to see the Light Rail through George Street commencing operations and taking first passengers. The lead up was challenging, but also a rewarding experience to be part of. For me, the key lesson is the value of leadership and teamwork especially in such a multidisciplinary environment with different stakeholders and expectations. Everyone did their best and all the pieces finally came together and the CSELR is now in operation.
What advice would you give to others in a similar position in about being successful or forging a good career in rail?
I would say to those who have already started their careers in rail or those looking to pursue a career in rail; collaborate and participate in key industry events, stay connected with the industry. Organisations such as the RTAA are great resources for collaboration and provide a platform for meeting like-minded professionals. Through engaging with such organisations, you will meet professionals who have been in the industry for decades and have a wealth of knowledge and experiences gained over the years they could share with you.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for rail in the future and how can the RTAA support that?
The rail industry will continue to provide opportunities for jobs and as a mobility solution both in rapid and mass transportation. The Australian government has seen the value in the opportunities the rail infrastructure can provide to the country and the current level of investment into the sector speaks to this. There are still more opportunities to invest further in the industry into the future and rail will continue to drive job opportunities for both the existing workforce in rail and young professionals starting out in the industry. The RTAA will add value to these future opportunities by playing a key role in knowledge sharing, networking, and promoting rail as a career option.