AUSTRALIA: The local rail sector faces a shortfall of up to 70 000 skilled workers by 2023, according to a report published by the Australasian Railway Association in conjunction with the AusRail Plus conference in Sydney.

ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie said attracting and retaining talent was one of the key issues facing the rail industry, at a time when it was in the midst of a wave of major investment projects, particularly in the urban rail sector.

The report identifies four priorities at address the shortfall. ARA wants to see the government and the rail industry working together to estimate future workforce needs, and ensure that supply meets demand; it proposes the establishment of ‘an Australia-wide, quality rail training system’.

ARA wants all parties to focus on increasing the attractiveness of working in the rail industry, in order to draw in new workers from diverse backgrounds. And at the same time it identifies a need to provide continuing training for the existing workforce.

ARA intends to launch a new careers website later this year, and is planning to set up a National Rail Skills Hub in the near future.