There are a number of assessment instruments by which you may be assessed. The main types of assessment are below:

  • Theory assessments – written questions to be completed by the participant. These may be in the form of multiple choice, short answer or extended answer.
  • Practical assessments – exercises which simulate the experience in the workplace.
  • One-on-one verbal questioning – completed individually with the Trainer Assessor.
  • Workplace diaries or on-the-job assessments – completed in the workplace.

Depending on the qualification, the most appropriate method(s) of assessment to evidence the requirement is chosen. Each of our courses at CERT will have the types of assessment used outlined on their page.

If you have any concerns undergoing an assessment in regards to reading writing or speaking English, please indicate this on your enrolment form and our Trainers can provide further assistance in completing the assessment. All CERT trainers are skilled and experienced in dealing with students with language, literacy and numeracy issues and are adept at tailoring learning to the needs of the student.

Credit transfer is a process that provides credit for a unit of competency that you have previously achieved. Under the Australian VET Framework, qualifications and statements of attainment issued by any RTO are to be accepted and recognised by all other RTOs. Credit transfer allows a student to be awarded a unit of competency based on successful completion of the unit which has been previously awarded

In some cases, existing skills and knowledge that are relevant to your work role can be recognised with evidence. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that assesses the individual student’s formal, non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the competency standards. This can greatly reduce the time taken to meet compliance requirements.

For Vocational and Education Training there are just two outcomes from assessment; Competent and Non-Competent. This means that for a participant, they either meet the criteria being assessed or they do not. For example, a required skill to complete the unit Maintain and Use Hand Tools (TLIB1028) is to be able to “Identify, select and efficiently and effectively use relevant hand tools and related materials”. A participant will be assessed by the Trainer to determine whether they satisfactorily demonstrate that skill, and if so they will be classified “competent”. If the participant does not demonstrate that skill they will be classified “not competent”.

Each of our courses listed online have noted on their page what they will receive in completing the course. For Nationally Recognised Training a Statement of Attainment or qualification is issued, for other training a certificate may not be issued where the participant already receives a Track Access Permit.

Certain job roles require an examination of your medical fitness and functional capacity, conducted by an approved doctor or medical professional. At a basic level, these test your ability to be in the rail corridor and hear instructions, move to a safe place, and maintain an awareness of your surroundings. Read more about rail medicals here.

You can read about rail medicals here.
Category 3 – Around the Track Person

Workers in these categories are also known as non-safety critical workers. Their ill-health will not impact directly on the safety of the rail network or the public.

As around the track personnel these workers are responsible for their own safety and the safety of fellow workers, and the categorisation of around the track personnel depends on their exposure to moving rolling stock. Medicals check your ability to walk in the rail corridor, work under supervision, and identify/move to a safe place.

Medical assessments for Category 3 workers are to be carried out prior to commencing any work on the railway, and then every 5 years from age of 40 and over.


  • If you are 29 when you commence working in rail, your Category 3 Rail Medical will expire on your 40th birthday UNLESS the authorised medical practitioner indicates otherwise;
  • If you are aged 40 or over when you commence working in rail, your Category 3 Rail Medical will expire every five years (unless otherwise indicated by the authorised medical practitioner).
Category 2 – Safety Critical Worker

If a sudden incapacity will not impact on the safety of the network, the worker is a Category 2 worker. Conditions which may impact on safe working ability include epilepsy, heart disease, diabetes, alcohol dependence, drug dependence and psychiatric disorders.


Medical assessments for Category 2 are to be carried out prior to commencing any work on the railway, and then at regular intervals as outlined below (may be more frequent if indicated by the authorised medical practitioner):

  • Every 5 years up to age 50
  • Every 2 years age 50-60
  • Every year age 60 onwards
Category 1 – High Level Safety Critical Worker

A worker is a Category 1 Worker if sudden incapacity or collapse while performing their work tasks could lead to a serious incident. Category 1 workers are also required to have a Cardiac Risk Score assessment – this is an evaluation of the risk of cardiovascular disease and collapse from heart attack or stroke.


Medical assessments for Category 2 are to be carried out prior to commencing any work on the railway, and then at regular intervals as outlined below (may be more frequent if indicated by the authorised medical practitioner):

  • Every 5 years up to age 50
  • Every 2 years age 50-60
  • Every year age 60 onwards

No. But you must complete one before going out on track for either work, on-the-job mentoring, or practical assessments; and it must be suitable for the requirements of all the roles you will be working in. Read more about rail medicals here. 

Nationally Recognised Training?

In the last five years, State and Federal governments have made changes to Rail Safety law. The aim is to make work practices and skills the same nationally, across different regions and railway systems. Key to these changes has been the move away from individual state or rail network “non-accredited” training courses and outcomes, towards nationally recognised training.

Nationally recognised training:

  • Is regulated by vocational education and training (VET) standards
  • Delivers consistent skills
  • Ensures that all workers have the same base skills and knowledge to do the job

Nationally Recognised Training is delivered by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), such as CERT. Only registered training organisations (RTOs) can deliver nationally recognised training and issue nationally recognised qualifications (or statements of attainment). Nationally Recognised Training consists of:

  • Training Packages
  • Qualifications
  • Units of competency
  • Accredited courses
  • Skill sets

Nationally Recognised Training is maintained by the Industry Skills Council, Auto Skills Australia (training packages, qualifications, units of competency and skill sets) and Vocational Education and Training Regulators (accredited courses and Registered Training Organisation (RTO) details and scope information).

Accredited courses are assessed by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to ensure they are compliant with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 and the Australian Qualifications Framework. The Australian Qualifications Framework is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates the qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. The AQF was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications in Australia encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools.

A VET accredited course can be accredited for all qualification types recognised under the AQF that are eligible for delivery within the VET sector, including:

  • Certificate I
  • Certificate II
  • Certificate III
  • Certificate IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate, and
  • Graduate Diploma

Each of our courses listed online have noted on their page whether the course is nationally recognised/accredited.

If you’re still not sure you can contact your local CERT branch and enquire or simply visit the website which lists all nationally recognised training. If the training course you wish to enrol in is not listed on, it is not nationally recognised training.

A Unique Student Identifier (USI) is a reference number (made up of numbers and letters) that is linked to your individual student record. By creating a USI a secure student record is created that stores any Nationally Recognised Training that you complete online. This means that you’ll be able to access the records to give them to employers or training organisations as evidence.

From January 1st 2015 all students completing any nationally recognised training must have a USI. Nationally recognised training defines the requirements for effective workplace performance in a specific area of work, work function, activity or process. It is used as the basis for defining learning outcomes and assessment benchmarks within the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector but also to meet Industry standards.

Under the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, CERT cannot issue your Statement of Attainment without a verified USI on file.

CERT is required to provide training records and results to the National VET Provider Collection and you will be able to access these records through your USI account by logging in online. This allows you to obtain a complete record of their VET enrolments and achievements from a single source (for training completed after January 1st 2015). You will continue to use your USI for any future nationally recognised training you undertake.

The USI initiative will mean that by capturing more comprehensive and accurate information in the future this data can help inform the development of Government policies relating to Vocational Education and Training (VET). This allows the VET system to better respond to students’ preferences and to the skills needs of industry and the Australian economy.

To create a USI on your behalf CERT requires the following:

  • Your permission – to generate the USI using your information CERT requires your consent. If you would rather CERT generate the USI for you, you can indicate this by ticking the appropriate box on your Enrolment Form.
  • Chosen form of ID – At least one of the following types of ID must be supplied to CERT.Your ID is necessary to ensure that your records are being recorded to a profile that is uniquely yours.
    • Driver’s Licence
    • Medicare Card
    • Australian Passport
    • Visa (with Non-Australian Passport)
    • Birth Certificate (Australian) *please note a Birth Certificate extract is not sufficient
    • Certificate Of Registration By Descent
    • Citizenship Certificate
    • ImmiCard
  • Your Enrolment Form – The CERT enrolment form captures all other information that is required to create your USI (e.g. country of birth, date of birth).

If you’d like to create your own USI you can follow the link here. All you’ll need is one form of acceptable ID (see above).

Once you have created your USI please send this through to your booking contact and it will be updated on your student profile.

In Australian vocational education and training (VET), a Unit of Competency is a specific set of knowledge and skills. A unit normally defines the specific knowledge and skills required; and the evidence that a qualified assessor needs to see the learner demonstrate.

A unit of competency is the smallest unit that can be assessed and recognised. In turn, units are assembled into skill sets or qualifications (Certificate I, Certificate II, Certificate III, etc.).

A learner attains a Unit of Competency by “demonstrating the specified knowledge and skills of the unit to a defined standard; usually to a level that would reasonably be expected in the workplace”. You demonstrate this knowledge and skills to a qualified Assessor, who then records evidence of you performing the task.

Assessments can be conducted using:

  • Theory assessments (written tests)
  • Practical assessments (simulated exercises)
  • One-on-one questioning
  • Workplace diaries or on-the-job assessments

If you do so correctly, a mark of “Competent” is recorded, and you attain the Unit of Competency.

Australian rail networks mostly require a worker to hold individual units of competency relevant to the role they work in. These units are chosen based on the nature of the role; the more technical or advanced the role, the more units and certifications that are required.

Different Australian railways are moving to standardise roles and the nationally recognised units required by each. This benefits individual workers by making it easier to work across Australia and minimising additional training or endorsement needed to work in other states or territories.


Lists of different roles and the units required by each are defined in ‘matrices.’ These spreadsheets are published on the Rail Industry Worker website ( and the websites of individual railway networks, normally under the “Contractor Information” section.

Each matrix shows a particular field or discipline; there are separate matrices for Track/Civil, Safeworking (Track Protection), Signals, Structures, and Engineering roles. In future, matrices for Rail Operations (train drivers, shunters, signallers, rail vehicle maintenance) and other disciplines will likely be introduced

Generally, most nationally recognised Units of Competency do not expire; once you attain a unit, you hold it for life. While you hold a unit for life once you attain it, some rail networks impose a period of ‘currency’ (usually two years) for several roles.

After two years, they ask learners to be “periodically reassessed” to prove that they still have the skills and knowledge in the units required by their roles. On completion of these periodical reassessments (sometimes called “recertifications”) a certificate for another two year period of currency is issued.

Some roles in infrastructure, track, and civil construction only require you to renew your track awareness every two years – other units (the Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure – Core Units) do not need to be reassessed.

Different rail networks have different periods of currency.

All course materials are provided for you, so you will just need to bring along 100 points of Identification and any specific items listed on your course enrolment.  

Click here to see the comprehensive list of identification

In most of our CERT Training Centres you are not required to wear PPE as it is primarily classroom based training. All participants must be dressed sensibly and wear enclosed shoes.

Your course confirmation will let you know any specific PPE that you may be required to wear to complete the practical component of a course.

In order to successfully complete the assessment requirements for any High Risk Work Licence, participants must complete a written test, answering more than 60 questions. Participants who have literacy difficulties, but are otherwise skilled and knowledgeable in, for example, forklift operations, might find it challenging or improbable to pass the assessment because of issues with reading the assessment (test) and providing written responses.

A number of training organisations have sought clarification about this issue from WorkSafe WA, which is the government body responsible for issuing all High Risk Work Licenses.

WorkSafe WA has provided clear instructions to training organisations about the literacy requirements for the written assessment component of the High Risk Work Licences (HRWLs). WorkSafe WA has advised that:

Regulation 6.20(2)(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 requires that an assessor must not issue a notice of satisfactory assessment (NOA) unless satisfied that the applicant for the HRWL has sufficient knowledge of the English language, both written and oral, to safely do the work relevant to the HRWL applied for.

WorkSafe considers that to assist in ensuring safety at the workplace, and to comply with the above regulatory requirement, applicants for a HRWL must have sufficient knowledge of the English language to communicate orally with other workers and where appropriate be able to read and understand:   

  • Safety signs at workplaces.
  • Operator manuals in the case of plant such as, for example, fork-lift trucks, work platforms and cranes.   
  • Load charts and/or compliance plates in the case of plant as exampled above.   
  • Assembly instructions and drawings associated with rigging and scaffolding work.
  • Job Safety Analyses (JSAs).

In undertaking the written component of the Assessment Instrument, WorkSafe does not permit, under any circumstances, an interpreter to be used and requires that applicants attempt the written examination in their own hand.

Being able to write answers to the written questions is an essential means of applicants demonstrating to the assessor that they can read the English language. However, when marking written assessments assessors can seek verbal clarification/enhancement of questions not fully answered.  

WorkSafe also wishes to confirm that all written assessments for HRWLs must be ‘closed book’ in that applicants must not have access to any information, such as course text books or other learning material that will assist them in providing answers to the Assessment Instrument questions.

We appreciate that it can be difficult for people from non-English speaking backgrounds and those with reading and writing difficulties to meet the WorkSafe requirements and we are committed to making whatever reasonable adjustments we can. However, we must always comply fully with the WorkSafe WA requirements which are designed to ensure the safety of workplaces where high-risk activities are being undertaken.

You will need to do the full training with reduced events of mentoring which is dependent upon the 2 years’ experience in the role. You must also be employed by one of the Queensland Rail Safeworking Panel.

The medical criteria for the TfNSW SX52 (formally RISI) and ARTC National Track Safety Awareness is a Category 3 Health Assessment (hearing, vision, mobility) and a Drug and Alcohol Screen (breath & urine analysis) from one of the Rail Authorised Health Professionals.

Medical criteria for Category 3 workers;


There are appreciable risks from moving trains, which can be surprisingly quiet even at high speed, so the ability to hear a train horn is important. A horn is intended to emit about 88 decibels (dB) at 200 metres in the country and 85 dB at 100 metres in towns. The standard has been set with a margin of safety to allow for adverse environmental conditions and the worker facing away from the train. The need is to hear (warning) sounds, rather than speech, in noise

Compliance with the Standard should be initially assessed by audiometry without hearing aids.

A person is not Fit for Duty Unconditional:

  • If hearing loss is ≥ 40 dB averaged over 0.5, 1 and 2 KHz in the better ear without hearing aids

Fit for Duty conditional on wearing hearing aids may be recommended if the standard is met with hearing aids.

If a rail safety worker requires hearing aids, the aids should:

  • Suppress feedback
  • Be noise limited to 80 dB
  • Have no noise-cancellation feature
  • Have no directional microphones.

Fit for Duty Subject to Job Modification may be considered; for example, if the worker is to be escorted at all times when around the track.



Visual Acuity and Visual Fields – Good visual acuity and fields are important to sense an oncoming train.

There are no requirements for colour vision unless the specific task requires it.

A person is not Fit for Duty Unconditional:

  • If the person’s best corrected visual acuity is worse than 6/12 in the better eye.

Fit for Duty conditional on wearing corrective lenses may be determined if the standard is met with spectacles or contact lenses.

Fit for Duty Subject to Review may be determined if the person meets the standard but has a condition that may result in their vision deteriorating before the next routine review date.

A person is not Fit for Duty Unconditional:

  • If their binocular visual field (or the visual field in the remaining eye in the case of monocular vision) does not have a horizontal extent of at least 110° within 10° above and below the horizontal midline; or
  • If there is any significant visual field loss (scotoma within a central radius of 20° of the foveal fixation or hemianopia).

Fit for Duty Subject to Review may be determined if the visual field standard is met and provided that the visual field loss is unlikely to progress rapidly.

Fit for Duty Subject to Job Modification may be considered; for example, if the worker is to be escorted at all times when around the track.


Musculoskeletal function

Track safety requires sufficient soundness of limb function to permit rapid movement away from an oncoming train.

A person is not Fit for Duty Unconditional:

  • If pain, weakness, instability or other impairment from a musculoskeletal or medical condition results in interference with the ability to walk on coarse ballast and/or move rapidly from the path of an oncoming train.

Fit for Duty Subject to Review may be determined, taking into consideration the opinion of the treating doctor and the nature of the work if the condition is adequately treated and function is restored.

Fitness for Duty Subject to Job Modification may be considered, for example, if the person is to be accompanied at all times when around the track.


Drug and Alcohol Screen

A person must maintain a zero blood alcohol level and a drug free. This means that the concentration of alcohol must not exceed 0.00gm (zero) per 100 millilitres of blood for Rail Safety workers.

NB: Some medications and food can contain alcohol e.g. certain cough syrups, liquor chocolates and desserts. Even food where the alcohol has been flambéed or cooked can still contain up to 75% of the original alcohol content.

The Centre for Excellence in Rail Training Pty Ltd (CERT) is a national business with local teams consisting of highly skilled and experienced training and assessment professionals, Administrators and Managers providing quality services to the domestic and international rail training markets.

CERT is a subsidiary of Engenco Limited. With over 35 locations and employing over 400 personnel, Engenco has a strong National presence in Australia in addition to operations in New Zealand, Singapore, and Sweden. Engenco can provide the opportunity to work in various industry sectors such as defence, maritime, rail, resources, power generation and transportation through cross-pollination within the Group.

Follow the link here to view our current career opportunities

The Rail Industry Worker program is a national competency management system for those working in rail. By law, every contractor and staff member working on a rail network in any capacity must be able to provide proof of their ability to do the job. This is done through completing appropriate training and attaining the relevant training outcomes required by their work role.

The Rail Industry Worker (RIW) Card was implemented in 2013 to provide a single national competence management system for workers within the rail industry. The system was initiated to improve the control and processes for delivering and monitoring safety, training, competencies and certification of workers. The aim of competency management is to minimise the risk of untrained personnel carrying out any work on the Australian rail network.

Currently this system is focusing on Rail Safety Worker Contractors as a priority, but there is the capability to expand this to all workers within the rail industry.

Replacing the ‘Rail Safety Worker’ program in March 2013, this industry led solution meets regulatory requirements and complies with national rail safety law.

This program is currently in phase one, with the capability to expand to all workers within the Rail Industry in the future.

Management of an individual’s records and skills sets, training and competencies, along with the production, distribution and control of associated unique competency cards are channelled through the industry leading safety management software, Onsite Track Easy (Onsite), a division of a company called Pegasus.

Each rail network (V/Line, ARTC, Metro) now specifies particular work roles that contractors can perform, and the units of competency (mostly units with a TLI code) that must be held by a person wishing to act as that work role on their network.

Exemptions may be available but you would need to contact the competencies team/rail safety managers for the networks you intend to access and seek an exemption.

To receive your RIW Card you must register and provide relevant documentation. You can register through the RIW portal link here.

For all rail operators it is mandatory to provide the following:

Completed 100 Point Identity Check at Australia Post
Unit of competence for the rail safety worker task(s) to be carried out in the rail corridor.
For more information about how to make up the 100pts of ID or which unit of competence is required, please see here.

The necessary requirements for applying for this qualification with specific Rail Operators (e.g. ARTC, Metro, Aurizon) can be found by following this link here. With the introduction of the Rail Industry Worker Card system (, previously called Pegasus) to manage an individual worker’s competencies, older “competency cards” may no longer be sufficient evidence in that system to prove that an individual has the skills and knowledge required for that role. Instead, a Statement of Attainment that lists these accredited units of competency (coded with a TLI code) and a Certificate showing currency must be uploaded to prove a learner’s competence.

For more information please refer to Rail Industry Worker here.