The Wulguru Group is one of Northern Australia’s largest engineering and manufacturing companies, employing 170 staff across five divisions. In 2017, the privately owned company established its rail maintenance division at a purpose-designed private siding with over 10,000 square metres of workshop space in Townsville. Newly appointed Production Manager Marcus McCloskey, went about setting up Wulguru Rail Maintenance from the ground up. When it came time to employ rail staff, Wulguru recruited recent school leavers and seasoned older workers who, despite their training and years of shunting experience with their former employer were not nationally accredited. Wulguru engaged The Instruction Company (TIC) to conduct initial shunting training for Wulguru’s raw recruits and recognised prior learning (RPL) training for its experienced people.
One of the most experienced of TIC’s 25 registered trainers, Greg Woods was chosen for the job. “We’re always looking for ways to save our clients time and money,” TIC Director, Paul Junck said. “With 40 years’ experience as a train driver and driver trainer, Greg was not only well qualified but was also closest, which reduced travel costs. The initial recognised prior learning training of the experienced recruits was so successful that Woodsy was asked to extend the training to include in shunting training for the new recruits. Woodsy arranged for the extra training materials to be printed locally at short notice and extended the training by two hours a day to contain costs and minimise disruption to Wulguru’s normal operations.”
Marcus conceded that newcomers to the rail industry don’t always appreciate that following safety procedures is critical – both for them and those they work with. “This is a high-consequence industry – mistakes can be fatal,” he said. “But, if you are well trained and you know what you’re doing the potential for accidents is very, very low. Woodsy brought his experience as a train driver and shunter into both the theoretical and practical sides of the courses. The training materials were excellent and he explained very clearly why and how things can go wrong if you don’t follow the correct procedures. Constant safety awareness is probably the most important lesson for every rail worker – whether they’re new to the industry or they’re veterans updating their skills or qualification.”
With Wulguru now offering clients rolling stock maintenance services, including bogey and wagon maintenance, repairs, refurbishment and manufacture, reconditioning of wheelsets, grit blasting and painting, and air component overhauls, the company has booked TIC for more training. For Marcus, it’s TIC’s attention to detail: “Every rail maintenance yard is different and TIC tailors training specifically for us – our site, our mix of new and experienced workers, and the equipment they work with. We’ll use TIC every time because we know our staff get high-quality training and nationally recognised qualifications.”