Student Information for Rail Training

Below you’ll find answers to a range of frequently asked questions related to rail industry worker training course preparation, completion, and qualifications. Plus, you can download our student handbook.

If the answer you’re looking for isn’t there, call us on 1300 042 378.



All courses include assessment as part of the process of gaining an outcome.  CERT Training applies a number of assessment methods to determine the competence of participants.  In most courses there are two key means of assessing competence these are as follows:

  1. Theory Assessment – (a written assessment (electronic or hard copy) which includes a mix of short-answer and multiple-choice questions).
  2. Performance Assessment – (a practical exercise where a participant is observed performing tasks which meet the course’s competency requirements. An assessor will observe participant performance against a checklist recording their observations).

Other methods may include:

  1. completion of a work-based logbook which is signed off by a qualified person in the workplace and marked by a CERT Training Assessor
  2. (for higher level courses) projects completed outside of class e.g., completing a review of health and safety performance on a work site, developing a workplace procedure, conducting an incident investigation and presenting a report

The information for each course provides detail on assessment practices and each assessment provides participants with the information and expectations relevant to achieving competency.

Credit for Previous Study and Experience 

Credit Transfer: This is where a participant enrols in a course having already completed part/s (units of competency) and can provide a verified certificate (Statement of Attainment or Transcript of Results) from another RTO which records what has been successfully completed.

Aspects already completed will be credited and listed on the certificate for the course being studied. Only the equivalent unit/s of competency can be credited.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): This is where existing skills and knowledge relevant to the course of study may be recognised with evidence provided.  RPL is an assessment process assessing the individual’s formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the competency standards which make up the course of study.  This can apply to either all or part of the course of study.

All applications for RPL are assessed on their merits and all students have the right to request an RPL application where they feel they hold the necessary skills and knowledge relevant to the course.

More information is available through the CERT Training Student Handbook.

Course Outcomes 

At the completion of a course an individual will be declared either ‘Competent’ or ‘Not Yet Competent’, meaning the individual either meets the criteria being assessed or they do not.

Where a participant is declared by the assessor as ‘Competent’ in a subject area which is nationally-recognised, they will be entitled to receive a ‘Statement of Attainment’ or where they are declared competent in all areas of a qualification they will be issued with a ‘Qualification’ certificate which includes a ‘Record of Results’ for the areas of study (units of competence) which make up the particular qualification.

Where a course is not nationally-recognised, successful participants with be issued with a ‘Certificate of Achievement’.  These may be issued together with a Qualification or a Statement of Attainment where there are specific enterprise or network accreditations involved.

Each course provides information on the outcomes of satisfactory completion

Materials for Courses 

In most cases, course materials are provided.  It is advisable to bring a long a pen and some paper for notes and personal identification will need to be verified upon enrolment.

Most CERT Training Centres do not require participants to wear PPE.  However, participants must be dressed sensibly and wear enclosed shoes.

For some courses, there may be specific items, including PPE which participants need supply.  Where this is the case, these are listed clearly against each course’s participant  information.

1. Bring Photo ID – Preferably a driver’s licence or passport.

2. Students must wear full safety gear including steal capped boots and hi-vis unless prior arrangements with the trainer have been made

3. Course must already be paid in full

4. If you have booked a medical appointment prior to your course, bring any associated documentation for this assessment.

Nationally Recognised Rail Training

What is Nationally-Recognised Training

Nationally Recognised Training is any course or qualification which is recognised under the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF). The following link provides more information on the AQF:

Australian Qualifications Framework, Australian Government (

This training can only be delivered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) such as CERT Training.  The AQF includes the following (all recognised in all States and Territories of Australia):

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

Completion of Nationally-Recognised Training results in successful participants receiving either a ‘Statement of Attainment’ or a ‘Qualification’ certificate from the RTO providing the training.

RTOs are required to inform participants of a course’s status as Nationally-Recognised Training prior to enrolment.

All Nationally-Recognised Training is regulated by the Australian Government through the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).  The following link provides more information on the role of ASQA:

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

Unit of Competency

What is a Unit of Competency

Unit of Competency is a specific set of knowledge and skills (a subject area).  These define the specific knowledge and skills required; and the evidence a qualified assessor needs to see a person demonstrate to declare them as competent.

A unit of competency is the smallest element which can be assessed and recognised. In turn, units of competency are assembled into skill sets or qualifications.

The units of competency associated with a course will vary depending on the nature of that course and units of competency can be selected in groups to make up a course required for workplace competence.

All CERT Training Courses will specify the units of competency which make up that course.

As a rule (unless you are a trainer in the field of study), Units of Competency do not expire and are held for life, once attained.  While the unit itself doesn’t expire, some rail networks impose a period of ‘currency’ (usually two years) for recognising a person’s accreditation in the field of study for their network.

In this situation the enterprise or network may require a rail industry worker to enrol with CERT Training for periodical reassessments (sometimes called “recertifications”) a ‘Certificate of Achievement’ for another two-year period of currency is issued.

Different rail networks have different periods of currency.  Each course provides information on periods of currency where outcomes are related to a specific rail industry role.

Unique Student Identifier (USI)

What is a Unique Student Identifier (USI) Number?

From January 2015, the Australian Government implemented that all students participating in nationally recognised training need to have a USI. Your USI provides lifetime access to an online record of your training results, that have been completed since January 2015. Students who do not currently have a USI must obtain one before attending training. Please visit to obtain your USI. USI numbers are required so we can issue your certificate.

The Unique Student Identifier (USI) 

A Unique Student Identifier (USI) is a reference number made up of numbers and letters which is linked to an individual student and stores any Nationally Recognised Training completed in a national register.

This means every Nationally-Recognised Training course completed in Australia through an RTO is recorded on a single register by the Commonwealth Government creating a permanent record for each person.

Under Australian law, RTOs cannot enrol a person in Nationally-Recognised Training course without them having a USI.

Individuals can create a USI or on enrolling with CERT Training have a USI created for them. 

How to create a Unique Student Identifier?

To create a USI CERT requires the following:

  • 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 identification (ID) – At least one of the following types of ID must be supplied to CERT to a profile created unique to an Australian citizen.
    • 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

The CERT Training enrolment process captures all information required to create a USI.

To create a USI the following link provides directions.  One form of acceptable ID (see above) will be required.

Create a student USI | Unique Student Identifier

Rail Industry Worker (RIW) Card

What is a Rail industry Worker (RIW) Card?

Rail Industry Worker (RIW) is a national competency management system for those working in rail.  By law, every contractor and staff member working on a rail network must be able to provide proof of their ability to do the job.  This is done through completing appropriate training and certificates for specific work roles.

The RIW Card was implemented in 2013 to provide a single national competency management system for rail industry workers within the rail industry. The system was initiated to improve the control and processes for delivering and monitoring the certification of rail industry workers.

Management of an individual’s record of competencies, along with the production, distribution and control of associated unique competency cards are channelled through the industry leading safety management software

Each rail network specifies particular work roles contractors may perform and the units of competency which must be held by a person wishing to work in that role on the relevant network.

How to get a RIW Card?

If you want to work on the railway, you will need to obtain a Rail Industry Worker (RIW) Card. There are two ways to get a Rail Industry Worker Card – either through your employer who is going to issue you a card through the RIW system or by applying directly through the RIW website. This application will include a physical RIW card, a virtual RIW card issued to your smartphone and access to myRIW.

For more information, please refer to our article on What Is a RIW Card and How Do I Get One? and the RIW website here.