Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Dubbo railway hub build on track for jobs boost

A train maintenance facility being completed in Dubbo is already creating significant employment for those in the Central West, Transport for NSW has reported.

Nearly 60 local businesses are already involved with the 25-hectare – or around 35 football fields – Mindyarra Maintenance Centre facility, which has also supported a job readiness program with an 85% completion rate among Aboriginal people. 

Meaning ‘to fix’ in Wiradjuri language, Mindyarra will service a new fleet of 29 trains as part of the Regional Rail Project. 

Transport for NSW’s Senior Manager of Social Procurement and Workforce Development, Maxine Greenfield said there have already been many great achievements within the project.  

“This includes two pre-employment programs, where we’ve been able to achieve an 85% completion rate by Aboriginal participants. Many have gained employment either on the project or with local business,” she said.  

The Regional Rail Project’s Jobs, Skills and Industry Participation (JSIP) program is key to helping provide employment pathways including roles for apprentices, trainees, graduate placements and work experience opportunities.  

So far, more than 400 workers have been involved in the construction of the Mindyarra site, from Dubbo, as well as in nearby Wellington, Narromine, Gilgandra and other regional locations.  

Aboriginal participation is a key focus with around 15% of the people living in the region identifying as Aboriginal, or around five times the state average. There are also 19 Registered Aboriginal Businesses that have won contracts to work on the site. 

Ms Greenfield said there will also be a second school-based traineeship program rolled out shortly under the JSIP program.  

“It will focus on building the confidence, skills and abilities of Year 10 and 11 students to create a career pathway into construction and infrastructure as a whole,” Ms Greenfield added. 

Director of Dubbo based Fletchers International, Roger Fletcher – who is an advocate for regional employment and training – said the Mindyarra Maintenance Centre will be economically beneficial to local businesses and job seekers.    

“This facility is always going to employ people to do a lot of different jobs that’s very different to what’s normally needed in Dubbo. This is very meaningful for people who want jobs,” he said.

“When we first came here, there weren’t many major businesses. Now it’s different, this is a great new facility and as the saying goes – from little things, big things grow.” 

Wiradjuri woman, Kelly Powell (pictured, above) is a testament to the program’s early success. Thanks in part to the support she received under the JSIP initiative, Ms Powell is now a Leading Hand with CPB Contractors, the company building the Mindyarra Maintenance Centre. 

“I started as a labourer, then was a Roller Operator. Over time, I was offered training for different tickets from the digger, skid steer (bobcat), moxie, telehandler and excavator,” she says. 

“Now I have a crew of guys that work under me, and I’m excited to bring another female to the site, teach her everything I know, and bring her up in the industry.” 

Ms Powell’s story is only one example of how the Jobs, Skills and Industry Participation program develops the skills base in Regional NSW.  

Read more about the program and other success stories: https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/current-projects/jobs-skills-and-industry-participation.

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