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Providing mobility to millions of passengers and vital freight services across the country.

The larger two rail freight businesses hold a 54% market share
vacancies per month
Adverts for Tram and Train Drivers have tripled since November 2019
qualification enrolments
77% of Rail enrolments in 2022 were in Rail Infrastructure
125 RTOs are explicitly authorised to deliver rail training
workforce growth
to 2028. Freight and passenger transport workforces to grow 7% by 2028

Source left-right: Enterprises; ABS Counts of Australian Businesses, Online Vacancies; JSA - Internet Vacancy Index, Qualification Enrolments; NCVER, RTO's;, Workforce Growth; IBISWorld Industry Wizard.

The Australian Rail industry is an integral part of the economy and supply chain. The industry underpins Australian business, providing mobility to millions of passengers and vital freight services on over 33,000 km of track across the country. With $155 billion worth of rail infrastructure projects in the pipeline,  existing shortages of labour can be expected to continue.

Increased demand for rail freight and strong expansions in passenger rail across States and Territories are factors driving skills demand. An ageing workforce is also contributing to the rail sector skills story.  

In 2018, it was estimated that 20% of the rail workforce was expecting to retire by 2028. A lack of nationally consistent regulatory arrangements across the rail sector is a challenge that needs to be addressed to unlock productivity gains across the sector.

The industry employs more than 165,000 people directly and indirectly across private and public operators, passenger and freight operators, track owners and managers, manufacturers, infrastructure maintenance and suppliers. Australia’s rail network is the 6th largest in the world.

Rail sector workforce planning and development

ISA collaborates with Jobs and Skills Australia, industry, unions, industry associations and Registered Training Organisations to identify workforce development needs and formulate industry workforce development plans that identify industry’s current and emerging skills needs, workforce development requirements at the national level and propose strategies in response to them. 

The Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system aims to provide individuals with work-ready skills for the labour market – skills that businesses and industries need to be highly productive and internationally competitive. 

The TLI Transport and Logistics Training Package covers the vocational requirements including Rail Infrastructure, Light Rail, Tram and Train Driving, Rail Operations Management, Signalling and Safety Management.


Australia’s rail industry provides mobility to millions of passengers and vital freight services across the country and it is expanding at a rapid rate. Employing almost 50,000 people in urban, regional and rural areas of Australia, rail operations are transforming thanks to recent technology changes such as automation and driverless systems.

Get on board for a career in customer service, or one where you can use your technical and professional skills to move freight, build and maintain tracks, and organize the movement of thousands of people every day. Offering flexibility, security and great training along the way, a career in rail might be just what you’re looking for.

Your Industry Engagement Manager

Paul Humphreys

Paul has extensive experience in the VET sector. Starting as a trainer/assessor, he has since worked in instructional design, learning and development management, workforce planning, work readiness and foundation skills training. He has also worked as technical manager at an Industry Skills Council, and Executive Officer of two NSW Industry Training Advisory Bodies. Paul holds qualifications in adult education, communication, leadership and project management.

How to get involved

Great ideas to address these challenges and many more can come from anyone and anywhere. Whether you’d like to collaborate with us, share your ideas, get involved in our activities or simply stay informed, get in touch now to join us on the journey.

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