Helping employees find their own career path is ingrained in the Condron Family Group employment model
Offering employees many and varied job opportunities has helped the Condron Family Group grow. It has expanded from a small engineering outfit in Victoria, to a national rail infrastructure and training operation operating under the brands, Sterling Infrastructure, ActivateRail and GoTrain.
“When it comes to hiring, the pendulum has definitely shifted,” said Group Managing Director Susie Pascoe.
“At the moment there’s a significant skills shortage, so you fight to attract and retain people.
“One of our solutions is to give employees the opportunity to move ahead in different directions.
“It’s not just about bringing staff in; it’s about keeping them.”
From the graduate engineer who became enamoured with fixing old bridges and is now a project director to the project co-ordinator who moved into construction.
“We take people on many different career paths,” said Susie.
“Within our business, you can become a labourer, you can be a construction manager, you can be a project manager or a project coordinator, a consultant, inspector, engineer, or work in human factors.”
The ability to offer such diverse pathways is assisted by the organisation’s corporate structure. It has three distinct brands:
- Sterling Infrastructure, providing end-to-end inspection, design, and construction services to maintain rail infrastructure.
- ActivateRail, a safework consulting and labour hire business.
- GoTrain is a registered training organisation which trains staff in all facets of the rail environment.
“As an integrated group of companies, we inspect, solve, design, construct, advise and skill rail workers to be safe,” said Susie.
Creating a path into rail
“We used to employ people largely through our networks, today we have permanent ads on job boards and SEEK.
We bring in a lot of students and graduates from any discipline. We have ex-manufacturing workers, ex-engineers, and unskilled labourers. A lot of people in the regions come to us.
“We hire and keep people who are passionate about what they do. Technical skills are crucial, but you can teach people that. We employ on character.”
The company introduces people with no rail experience to the sector.
They help them get their rail industry worker (RIW) or rail safety worker (RSW) card which includes safe access to the rail corridor (SARC) certification – a requisite for anyone working near a rail line.
“This card gives them their ticket to play,” said Susie.
“From there we might put them through a hand signaller course. We’ll pay for their training and give them evidence shifts (on track experience). Once you have enough evidence you are qualified and can move on and train and gain evidence in another skill.”
As workers advance, they gain exposure to other dimensions of rail and are able to keep training and gaining the experience that helps them forge their career in the direction they choose.
“We purchased GoTrain so we could create a pathway for people to enter rail. They may not take their whole journey with us. That’s fine,” said Susie. “But we bring them in, train them, show them the different paths and give them somewhere to go.”
The Condron Family Group of companies has offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane and Rockhampton.