RIW Card and Qualifications: How Do I Get a Job on the Railway?

You need a RIW card to work on the rail industry.

Railway jobs remain a popular career choice for many Australians. Railways continue to expand across the country and challenging and rewarding career paths are being added every day. If you’re looking to find your start to a career on the railroads then you have to have the qualification and requirements such as medical assessments, and a RIW card.

You might be asking “How can I get a job and work in railways?”. There are many options for where to start with rail jobs depending on your previous experience and qualifications. 

From apprentices straight out of high school to those looking to enter the industry after experience in other fields, there are many ways to get started.

Usually, all paths start with attaining the right safety and qualifications licences for your preferred role or business. 

CERT has collected all the major questions and tips you need to get a job on the railways in Australia. 

What qualifications will I need for a job on the railways?

Depending on your employer’s training requirements there are usually several basics you will need to work on the railways. Often you will find a job first and then your employer will organise the necessary training for you. 

Alternatively, it can be beneficial to undertake some of the basics yourself before you start applying for roles to make yourself more employable. 

As a minimum requirement to work on the major private or public railway systems in Australia you will need the following accreditations.

You may also occasionally require a Safely Access the Rail Corridor assessment completion to work with the ARTC or other private rail enterprises. 

Depending on your prospective employer’s needs and requirements you will need to satisfy all of these to receive your Rail Industry Worker (RIW) Card. This card is needed by all rail workers in Australia and is nationally recognised.

a railway industry worker, with a riw card, smiling

How do I get my Rail Industry Workers (RIW) Card?

The RIW Card is issued to you after you apply and submit proof of the relevant assessments you have completed, including your rail medical and White Card. Depending on who your prospective employer is the Rail Safety Worker group will confirm you have met the requirements and issue your RIW Card. 

Along with other medical and skills certifications, the Safely Access Rail Corridor course assessment may be a requirement for a RIW card if your employer is from the following rail network providers:

  • Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
  • Aurizon
  • John Holland
  • DPTI (SA)

State rail authorities may not require this assessment, however, they may require other assessments and you should speak to them directly about their requirements.

What are common rail jobs I could do?

There are many diverse roles available on the railways, including office and trades office. Head offices provide a range of professional jobs as you would expect from the large corporations that run these services. For trades roles, some of the common roles include:

  • Train driver
  • Apprentice
  • Hand signaller
  • Protection Officer
  • Rail track examiner
  • Communications and Safety
  • Electricians and Mechanics
  • Engineers
  • Project managers
  • Many more…

These diverse roles might require additional certifications. You can explore CERT for many of the extra courses you can do to land the perfect job on the railway.

What qualifications do I need to be a train driver in Australia?

Becoming a train driver is many people’s dream. Being out on the tracks and seeing the country by train sounds amazing. Not only that but it’s also rewarding and requires a high level of skill that will make it an enjoyable career. 

To become a train driver in Australia you need to satisfy the full requirements for a RIW Card for your employer. After that, you will also need a Certificate IV in Train Driving (TLI42615) from a relevant certified training provider. 

You can find all the information about train driver careers and salaries in Australia through the Seek career advice portal as well. 

Where can I find rail jobs in my state?

There are many different rail providers in every state. Capital cities have government-run Metro systems, while regional areas have mining freight lines. New rail infrastructure being developed across the country brings new jobs online all the time. This includes the inland rail with the ARTC. 

CERT has completed a guide on finding a rail job in your state where you will be able to find the right role for you. 

a group of railway industry workers on a railway

How can I get a Railways Apprenticeship?

For apprentice hopefuls, there are equally as many opportunities around the countries to start a fruitful career on the railways. You’ll find the information you need in our guide on finding a rail job in Australia. 

Will my qualifications allow me to move interstate?

Major rail courses and certifications are nationally recognised these days. CERT has courses for rail workers that will allow them to move interstate and continue their careers without needing any new assessments.  

All states and territories of Australia will accept your rail qualifications, like your White Card.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to be adequately certified and qualified when starting a long and successful career on the railways. We all want to enjoy our work, keep safe and maintain the safety of other rail users too.  

Working on the Australian railways will be a rewarding and amazing opportunity, that can take you to unexpected places. Speak to CERT today about how to get your railway job journey started with the right certifications. 

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