Developing our digital rail workforce

Australia needs to digitally upskill its rail workforce and find more high tech talent to build and operate a single, modern, interoperable rail system.

Accelerating access to digital skills for rail

Digitisation is transforming Australia’s rail network and how people work.

The demand for digital skills is forecast to increase over the next five years as: new technology is introduced; systems become more interconnected; and greater use is made of predictive analytics and AI.

By 2027, nearly 40% of existing rail workers will need to improve their digital proficiencies to do their job.

Workers in 21 job categories including train drivers, track workers, train controllers, and ticket sellers, will need some level of digital training and digital competency.

84% more specialised digital workers will also be needed in areas such as:

  • Data Security
  • Data Analytics
  • Systems development
  • Data Communication

This includes hundreds more engineers specialised in ICT, Networks, Systems, and Telecommunications. They will be required to design, build, test and maintain the new train control, signalling and communications systems that are improving interoperability across Australia’s rail networks.

Digital skills map showing the new digital rail skills needed across Australia


Rail is not the only sector seeking this talent. High demand has led to a global digital skills shortfall.

As part of the National Rail Action Plan, the National Rail Skills Hub is bringing together government and industry leaders to agree on a national approach to tackling the challenge.

A series of forums and roundtables are working on better ways to train workers in the digital skills they need and help organisations prepare for the introduction of new technologies.



A national approach

A national approach

The NTC has been asked by Australia’s Transport Ministers to help accelerate the delivery of digital skills into the rail industry.

To do this we’re working with global networking company Cisco and our industry and education partners on an Accelerating Digital Skills in Rail program. The program will develop nationally recognised digital skills curricula and training courses specifically for rail workers.

The micro-credentials and ASQA aligned courses will be mutually recognised across networks to enable greater mobility of workers. And will be supported by a national network of registered training organisations.

The program is focused on developing learners’ knowledge across evolving technology and concepts in:

  • Networking
  • Data Science
  • Cyber Security
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Programming


Digital Rail Champions

Free Digital Rail Champions initiative

Are you looking to improve your organisations’ digital capabilities?

To jumpstart the Accelerating Digital Skills in Rail program, we’re inviting rail organisations to nominate up to 10 employees to be part of a free 12-month pilot and become one of Australia’s first Digital Rail Champions.

The Digital Rail Champions initiative includes free courseware in foundation and intermediate computer skills for IT language, hardware, and networking. As well as an introduction to the areas of Internet of Things, Data Science and Cyber Security.

The online courses can help to:

  • onboard new employees
  • upskill existing workers in evolving technology
  • lift digital proficiencies across teams
  • provide digital novices, including older workers, with basic computer skills
  • improve managers' and executives’ understanding of networks and IT concepts to enable them to maximise the benefits of new technology.

Learn at your own pace

We understand that the move to a more digitised workforce is a journey. Rail employees have different levels of proficiencies and different needs.

The Digital Rail Champions pilot provides a range of courses at foundation (Activate) and intermediate (Enhance) levels, allowing employees to start and progress their digital learning at their own pace.

Our National Cisco Networking Academy partners will provide support to Champions throughout their studies.

Partners include RMIT, Box Hill Institute, TAFE New South Wales and TAFE South Australia.

Organisations nominating participants can also register to become a member of the Cisco Networking Academy.

Participants will join fellow rail students from across Australia in an inaugural Digital Rail Champions study group to help each other as they progress.

Join some of Australia’s biggest rail enterprises and gain early access to this exciting program.

The program has space for 100 learners, so the opportunity is limited.

To register or find out more, email us here.

Learnings from the initiative will be used to help design our nationally recognised digital rail skills program.