Creating our CareerS by hnj68713



apprentices tell their stories
introduCtion                                               We want you to get to know our apprentices. We are proud of them.
                                                           They have impressive raw talents, a passion for their trades and are
                                                           keen to pick up new skills whenever and wherever they are offered.

Creating our CareerS is a collection of personal stories from just some of our young men and women. The twenty-
three stories are written in their own words and are all very different. They tell us how they came to be apprentices, give us
an insight into the tasks and projects of their eight different trades, and outline where they want to take their careers. These
stories are just like a good conversation and I’d like to thank the apprentices for sitting down and talking with us.

Apprentices are at the forefront of RailCorp’s future and we are committed to providing them with the very best training,
career opportunities and lifelong relationships. If you are considering a trade yourself, I hope you will read on and get a taste
of what life might be like with us; one of the largest and most diverse trade employers in Australia.

                               Vince Graham, Chief Executive, RailCorp
                                 Creating our CareerS

                                         Jeff damayo     Fitter Machinist Tradesman  28                          adam murrell         Electrical Mechanic Apprentice  14                                      Werner ong Rail Traction Apprentice  12                                           mattheW faSan          Vehicle Body Builder/Trimmer Tradesman  20

    Katharine BarneS Electrical Fitterr Mechanic Apprentice 8                             John maCKey      Signal Electrical Apprentice  2                                                     luKe CoWan      Substation Distribution Apprentice  42                         Keith lang Plant Mechanic Tradesman  6

          Phil JoneS Fitter Machinist Tradesman                                                              VannaK gnar Rail Traction Apprentice  8                                          JameS Salamo       Electrical Mechanic Tradesman  10                        Caddie Chen        Substation Distribution Apprentice  22

                                                  andreW Baillon Telecommunications Apprentice  4                          ChriS Weir        Vehicle Body Builder/Trimmer Apprentice     25                             adam moBBerley           Vehicle Body Builder/Trimmer Apprentice  26                                            mattheW aShford        Vehicle Body Builder Tradesman  18

                                Karan Jain Electrical Mechanic Apprentice  4                                alex Warren Telecommunications Apprentice  24                                      triStan ChamBerS Substation Distribution Apprentice  6                         aPhrodite PuSe         Substation Distribution Apprentice  16

                                                                                daniel uPton   Vehicle Body Builder Tradesman  0                                  rod deSmond           Substation Distribution Apprentice  4                                        ChriS laWrenCe Fitter Mechanic Apprentice  40

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  With railCorP
    Karan Jain                             …and then you go
    eleCtriCal meChaniC
                                           out there and, you
                                           KnoW, you haVe
    4th Year Apprentice

                                           the KnoWledge to do it.
    HIGH SCHOOL: Cumberland High and
    Merrylands High.
    FAVOURITE TEAM: St George Dragons.
    MOVIE: Blood Diamond.
    TV SHOW: South Park.
    BAND: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
                                           that’S the BeSt feeling!
    INSPIRATION: My Grandad.
    SPARE TIME: All sports... minus AFL.
    DREAM TRAVEL: The Netherlands.

                                           o       n September 25th
                                                   1990, when I was four
                                           and a half years old, my
                                                                           I’m a 4th Year Electrical
                                                                           Mechanic Apprentice in
                                                                           the Rollingstock Division,
                                                                                                        I’m a big chatterer. I love
                                                                                                        to ask questions and
                                                                                                        learn. I’ve always loved
                                           family dropped everything       and I’m also into my         planning and designing
                                           in India and came to            second year of university    and I’d like to move into
                                           Australia. I remember           doing a Bachelor of          modifications of trains
    HOBBIES, FRIENDS, FAMILY… BUT I        it being a huge shock at        Electrical Engineering at    in the future. Coming
    WOULDN’T TRADE IT FOR THE WORLD!       fi rst, mainly because I        UTS. Working here has        from an apprenticeship,
                                           just couldn’t speak the         taught me discipline, and    I understand them so well.
                                           language. I was fluent with      I think it builds you as a
                                           my Hindi and Punjabi, but       person. The best thing,      My parents always told me
                                           I wasn’t very good with         which gives me a lot of      that if you apply yourself,
                                           English. But my dad was         satisfaction, is when they   you can do anything.
                                           young and was always            give you a random fault,     My family is a very, very
                                           ambitious to get out of         and they go, ‘Look, the      important part of my life
                                           India and go somewhere          train’s just not moving.     and I owe them for where
                                           else. I suppose it’s where I    Can you fi x it?’ And then   I am and where I’m going.
                                           get my ambition from.           you go out there, and        And I thank them for that.
                                                                           you know, you have the
                                                                           knowledge to do it. That’s
                                                                           the best feeling!

4                                                                                                                                                5
    i loVe the Challenge of learning     Keith lang

    and WaS reWarded laSt year           Plant meChaniC

    With an aWard for exCellenCe…
    and then i got the aWard for
                                         HIGH SCHOOL: Springwood High.
                                         FAVOURITE MOVIE: We Were Soldiers.
                                         TV SHOW: Mythbusters.

    aPPrentiCe of the year.              FAVE BAND: The Sunny Cowgirls.
                                         GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Rebuilding a
                                         ’65 Dodge Bushfi re Truck, driving it to
                                         Darwin and raising $45,000 for charity.
                                         DREAM TRAVEL: New Zealand.

                                         ME AND THE DODGE… ONE OF 
                                         THE MOST FULFILLING EXPERIENCES 
                                         OF MY LIFE.

                                       P     lant Mechanic – awesome trade! I can maintain
                                             and repair anything from a whipper snipper to our
                                       biggest machine, the RM900 ballast cleaner. I work on
                                                                                                    I do a fair bit of charity work as well. I’m Deputy Captain
                                                                                                    of the local Rural Fire Brigade up in the mountains and I
                                                                                                    work with Variety, the children’s charity. Me and my father
                                       all equipment: petrol, diesel, hydraulics, pneumatics, and   run a team of two trucks in the Variety B-to-B Bash where
                                       everything in between. I’ve also completed my trade as       we travel to country towns and deliver donations to the
                                       an Auto Electrician, a course in Heavy Vehicle Transport,    schools. I run an old 1965 Dodge bush fi re truck which I’ve
                                       and an Air Conditioning course. And I’ve been able to do     built from the ground up. It’s a good thing to do and it feels
                                       all of them during my apprenticeship. I love the challenge   worthwhile because I can see the effect that we’re having
                                       of learning and was rewarded last year with an Award         on the kids in those rural communities.
                                       for Excellence in my trade, and then I got the award for
                                       Apprentice of the Year.                                      My life is full on, it takes a bit out of you, but I know that
                                                                                                    every day we have, means a lot. We can’t waste any of it!

6                                                                                                                                                                    7
    Katharine Barnes                         the training iS
    eleCtriCal fitter
    meChaniC                                 aBSolutely
    3rd Year Apprentice
                                             amaZing, the
    HIGH SCHOOL: St Ives High School.
    FAVOURITE TEAM: Sydney Roosters and      dePth of it, and
                                             JuSt hoW Willing
    MOVIE: Jessica.

                                             eVeryone iS to
    TV SHOW: The Simpsons.
    getting the CPH railmotor to Macarthur

                                             teaCh you all the                                                                                   RailCorp
    and back without breaking down.
    MY LITTLE SECRET: Outside of work I’m

                                             different Stuff.
    a real girly girl.

                                                 m      y father worked on the railways and when I was at
                                                         high school, I used to have a bet that I’d end up on
                                                 the railways too…
                                                                                                                     You actually want to get
                                                                                                                     out of bed.

                                                                                                                     The training is absolutely
                                                 I wanted to be a lawyer at fi rst. (I had excellent                 amazing, the depth of
     OIL AND DIRT I GET ON MYSELF                argumentative skills, according to my mother.) But in               it, and just how willing
     EVERYDAY AT WORK.                           Year 11 and 12, I did all the audio and lighting for the            everyone is to teach you all
                                                 school productions and I changed my mind. I decided that            the different stuff. You’ve
                                                 electrical was a better idea. My dad said, ‘Why don’t you           not only got your boss to
                                                 go and get a trade?’ And then this apprenticeship came up,          turn to but you’ve also got
                                                 and I was like, ‘You beauty!’                                       your friends and some of
                                                                                                                     the older apprentices out
                                                 Now, I’m a third year Electrical Fitter Mechanic Apprentice         there helping as well.
                                                 in the Rollingstock Division. It’s so much fun. In the train
                                                 driver’s compartment we check to make sure the train                Now I’m thinking about
                                                 actually works, the lights work, and the radio works: on            engineering and maybe
                                                 the roof we check the big high tension equipment. I was             doing part of the fitting
                                                 also part of the rebuilding of an old 1926 CPH Rail Motor           course and working
                                                 and I ended up wiring the entire compartment where the              my way up to a Service
                                                 driver sits. We get different experiences in the different          Manager.
                                                 depots. At the moment, I’m at Eveleigh depot where I get
                                                 to do fitting. It’s all the dirty, heavy work and it’s fantastic!   So I think I won that bet.

8                                                                                                                                                           9
                                         the mentorShiP-tyPe training
                                         that you learn under iS
                                         really good. and it’S funny
                                         BeCauSe i’Ve got aPPrentiCeS
                                         WorKing With me, noW.

     James Salamo                        t   he mentorship-type training that you learn under is
                                             really good. You work closely with the tradesmen, and
                                         there was one tradesman I worked with, Graham Lamm,
                                                                                                       I take my words from
                                                                                                       Graham now. I tell the
                                                                                                       apprentices to: ‘Go out
     eleCtriCal meChaniC
                                         he’s awesome. He’s really good at his job and even when       and do your best. Don’t be
                                         you aren’t working with him, he’ll walk past and go, ‘How     scared to ask questions
                                         are you going? Any time you need a hand, just let me          because you’re there to
                                         know.’ He’ll just help you out, you know and he won’t take    learn. And you’re not alone,
                                         any credit. I’ve developed a really close relationship with   there’s always people to
                                         him and apparently, he calls me the ‘Son of Lammy’ now.       help you.’

                                         I’ve fi nished the four years of my apprenticeship and so     You’ll have an awesome
                                         I’m an Electrical Mechanic. Basically, we’re electricians     time.
                                         but because we work on electric motors, we’re classed as
                                         mechanics as well. So we do lights, switches, the driver’s
                                         dash, fault fi nding, checking the circuits. Anything
     LOSING MYSELF IN THE MUSIC.         electrical to do with the trains, that’s us.

                                         And it’s funny because I’ve got apprentices working
                                         with me, now. It’s good because I can actually teach
                                         them and show them through the books. You can sort of
                                         understand what they’re trying to say because you were in
                                         the same position.

10                                                                                                                                    11
     Werner ong                             But i KnoW i’ll Be
     rail traCtion
     3rd Year Apprentice                    Staying here for
                                            the reSt of my
     HIGH SCHOOL: Cebu Institute of
     Technology (Philippines).              life. i’m haPPy With
                                            my WorK and my
     FAVOURITE MOVIE: Bourne 1, 2 and 3.
     The Matrix.

                                            WorKmateS; We
     TV SHOW: Smallville.
     INSPIRATION: My boys.
     SPARE TIME: Playing guitar, singing.   haVe a good laugh
     DREAM TRAVEL: Europe.

                                            With the JoB.

                                                t   he Philippines where I come from, it’s hot and crowded,
                                                    but it’s a great place. The Philippine culture is to work
                                                outside your country, make some good money and explore.
                                                                                                                  looking for defects, broken
                                                                                                                  droppers or insulators.

                                                I came to Australia when I was twenty-one and it was a            My plan is to go to Uni and
                                                big cultural shock for me at fi rst. It’s completely different;   do an Engineering degree
                                                the food, the people, the weather, the houses. Not like back      and someday be the big
                                                home where during the night we’d go outside with all the          boss, like being a foreman
                                                families and play the guitar and we sing and people are           or Principal Engineer. But
                                                talking and gossiping.                                            one that still works outside
                                                                                                                  of the office, I wouldn’t
                                                It’s been a bit of a hard life since I got here. I’ve worked in   give that up. My favourite
                                                tuna factories, made lenses for glasses, been a jewellery         thing is bushwalking in
                                                maker, worked as a kitchen hand, in a nursing home, at            the mountains or along the
                                                the Port Kembla Steelworks, and I was with the Royal              tracks near the beaches;
                                                Australian Navy for two years.                                    the waves, the birds – it’s
                                                                                                                  just beautiful. I feel free
                                                But I know I’ll be staying here for the rest of my life. I’m      and content, you know.
                                                happy with my work and my workmates; we have a good
                                                laugh with the job. As Rail Traction Apprentices, we look         That’s my life, and I’m
                                                after the high voltage equipment that supplies electricity        lovin’ it!
                                                to the trains. We are the guys up the poles, rewiring and

12                                                                                                                                                     1
     i’Ve found that i liKe to helP      adam murrell

     PeoPle and So further doWn the      eleCtriCal meChaniC
                                         3rd Year Apprentice

     traCK i’d loVe to moVe into the
     aPPrentiCe training unit.
                                         HIGH SCHOOL: Kingswood High.
                                         FAVOURITE TEAM: Sydney FC.
                                         MOVIE: Blast From the Past.
                                         TV SHOW: Alias or House.
                                         WHEN I WAS LITTLE... I wanted to grow
                                         up to be a train driver – ironic, I know!
                                         DREAM DATE: Jennifer Garner or Kate
                                         DREAM TRAVEL: Greek Islands.

                                          MOST WEEKENDS ARE PRETTY                                     RailCorp
                                          NORMAL… BIT OF SALSA DANCING, 
                                          BIT OF SOCCER AND JUST ME AND MY 

                                       m      y fi rst day, I can remember it. I absolutely freaked.
                                               I wasn’t scared about starting, I was scared because
                                       I’d always been in jobs like factory work and service
                                                                                                             books with me and show me the electrical diagrams so
                                                                                                             I can get the full picture. One tradesman ended up saying,
                                                                                                             ‘Stop! I can’t handle anymore!’ because I ask so many
                                       stations where you’d be expected to work as hard as you               questions.
                                       can from the fi rst day. But as an apprentice, my foreman
                                       sat me down and told me that I was there to learn fi rst, and         But there’s still a lot to learn. I’m at TAFE at the moment
                                       meet the team – the people who’d be teaching me, and                  doing an air-conditioning course as well and I fi nd myself
                                       watching out for me the whole time.                                   helping some of the guys in class with the electrical
                                                                                                             side of things. I’ve found that I like to help people and so
                                       So far, I’ve worked on inverters, generators, compressors,            further down the track I’d love to move into the Apprentice
                                       and I’ve worked with the tradesmen doing service                      Training Unit. There I’d be dealing with TAFE, looking
                                       inspections. I know that I can learn as much as I want to             after the training of apprentices, helping them through their
                                       with my trade. I even ask the tradesmen to go through the             apprenticeship. Yeah, that’s where I see me!

14                                                                                                                                                                           15
     aphrodite Puse                          i neVer StoP
     SuBStation diStriBution
     1st Year Apprentice                     learning. eVery
                                             day i’m PiCKing                                                                                  RailCorp

                                             uP a thing or
     HIGH SCHOOL: Penshurst Girls High
     MOVIE: Lots but my recent fave is The

                                             tWo and i really
     Bourne Ultimatum.
     TV SHOW: CSI, Law and Order, Heroes
     and Prison Break.
     SPARE TIME: Reading and movies.
     DREAM TRAVEL: Every place... I wanna    loVe that...
     see the wonders of the world.
     MY LITTLE SECRET: I sleepwalk..         i Want to go to
                                             uni and BeCome
                                             an engineer.

                                                 i ’m doing something different, and I’m really proud of that.
                                                    I’m a twenty-seven year old, fi rst year apprentice. Before
                                                 this, I’ve been to Uni, to TAFE and worked five years with
                                                                                                                   learn more. I can’t wait to
                                                                                                                   work on the high voltage
                                                 IBM, but my fi rst day with RailCorp was still scary.
                                                                                                                   I never stop learning.
                                                 My sisters can’t believe it. They’ve been asking me, ‘How         Every day I’m picking up
                                                 can you do that? It looks too hard’, and ‘You look like a boy,    a thing or two and I really
                                                 look at your boots!’ Or they’ll say, “You’re with the guys        love that. I’ve never seen
                                                 all the time, don’t you feel left out?’ But I just tell them      anything like the electrical
                                                 the truth. That the guys are all pretty nice people, and          drawings in the depots that
                                                 they take care of me, and look out for me, like they do for       the engineers do. They’re
                                                 everyone else.                                                    amazing, and I look at them
                                                                                                                   and think, ‘Some day, I’m
                                                 My fi rst visit to a depot was intimidating, but very exciting.   going to draw one of those.’
                                                 I went into a substation and thought, ‘Oh my god.’ I just
                                                 put my hands in my pockets and didn’t touch anything.             I want to go to Uni and
                                                 But I was well prepared. I spent my fi rst sixteen weeks at       become an engineer. And
                                                 Skillswest learning hand tools, wiring up, lights, GPOs           I’m really proud of that too!
                                                 and that was really helpful. Now, I’m working on the
                                                 substations, feeding power to the trains and I want to

16                                                                                                                                                       17
     i looK at thingS in a
                                                                                          of the major presentation, and a lot of the time we work        of my groomsmen at my wedding. I know the friendships
                                                                                          in conjunction with the other trades, so I’ve got an            I’ve made here will last a lifetime.

     Whole different light                                                                understanding of their work as well.
                                                                                                                                                          I’m a fi rm believer that if you put in the hard yards with

     noW. aS a VehiCle Body
                                                                                          I met my best friend here at work just over four years ago.     anything, then you’ll see the rewards at the end of the day.
                                                                                          We make a good team. Matty often tells me that he wished        So I’m going to go for it and we’ll see how far it takes me.

     Builder i underStand the
                                                                                          he had my intelligence and I go, ‘It’s the other way around     Who knows, one day I may be the General Manager for
                                                                                          mate: I wish I had your hand skills!’ But he’s done a lot for   Rollingstock!

     uSe of metalS, faBriCS                                                               me outside of work as well, which is why he had to be one

     and WoodWorK Within
     the trainS.

                   matthew ashford                        f    or the life of me, I was
                                                               going to be the fi rst
                                                          Ashford that didn’t work
                   VehiCle Body Builder
                                                          for the Railways! And sure
                                                          enough, here I am, the
                   HIGH SCHOOL: Patrician Brothers
                                                          fourth generation Ashford
                   College, Fairfield.                    to work here. But I think
                   FAVOURITE TEAM: The Waratahs and the   this job’s perfect for me.
                   MOVIE: Underworld or Urotsukidoji.     I’d always liked working
                   TV SHOW: Prison Break.
                                                          with my hands but I
                   BEST BAND: Cradle of Filth.
                                                          wanted a job where I
                   GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Getting
                   married and owning property.           used my brain as well.
                                                          Having come through
                                                          my trade, I look at things
                                                          in a whole different light
                                                          now. As a Vehicle Body
                                                          Builder I understand the
                                                          use of metals, fabrics
                                                          and woodwork within
                                                          the trains. I take care
                    MATTY AND ME AT MY WEDDING… HE 
                    WAS ONE OF MY GROOMSMEN AND IS 
                    SOMEONE I REALLY RESPECT.

18                                                                                                                                                                                                                       19
     matthew fasan                          the BeSt feeling
     VehiCle Body Builder/
     trimmer                                iS KnoWing i Can
                                            WalK out of the
     HIGH SCHOOL: Patrician Brothers
     College, Fairfield.                    railWayS noW
                                            and get a JoB
     MOVIE: Star Wars Trilogy.
     TV SHOW: Las Vegas.

                                            anyWhere. aS
     MUSIC: Metallica.
     BIGGEST THRILL: Seeing Metallica

                                            a trimmer, or
     twice in one week.
     DREAM DATE: Amy Lee, lead singer of

                                            a VehiCle Body
                                            Builder, or
                                            or Sheet metal
      ’78 HS SANDMAN UTE.

                                                        P     eople know I have a
                                                              thing for detail with
                                                        my work and that comes
                                                        from my dad. He’s always
                                                        worked with his hands,
                                                        and he’s really meticulous,       This was really useful when I went to work on the 3801 Rail   building a crew car at the same time. It had aviation
                                                        so I’ve always strived to be      Heritage Project. There were a number of other apprentices    style seats in the sleeping compartments, like the big, old
                                                        at that sort of level. It gives   already rebuilding the old 3801 train from the ground up,     country living seats, so I re-trimmed all of them too. It was
                                                        me the motivation to keep         and when they found out that I was a trimmer as well, it      excellent. What more could you ask for?
                                                        doing it.                         was great.
                                                                                                                                                        The best feeling is knowing I can walk out of the railways
                                                        I’ve completed two trades         I dragged out this big, old sewing machine, a 132K6, and      now and get a job anywhere. As a trimmer, or a vehicle
                                                        since I’ve been here,             I oiled that up and got it going. Then I found all this old   body builder, or boilermaker, or sheet metal worker, in
                                                        Vehicle Body Building             material sitting around that was still in great condition,    fi bre glassing or timberwork. And even as a panel beater
                                                        and Vehicle Trimming.             so I re-trimmed the seats on the 3801 itself. They were       possibly. It’s a very diverse trade.

20                                                                                                                                                                                                                      21
                                     eVeryWhere i                                                    Caddie Chen

                                     WorK i learn                                                    SuBStation diStriBution
                                                                                                     3rd Year Apprentice

                                     Something neW
                RailCorp             BeCauSe the                                                     WHEN I WAS LITTLE... I wanted to grow
                                                                                                     up to be an Engineer like my father.

                                     SyStem iS So Big.                                               INSPIRATION: My father... I think he’s
                                                                                                     the best.

                                     i thinK i’m luCKy
                                                                                                     BEST FEATURE: Passion for my work.
                                                                                                     FAVE MOVIE: Braveheart.

                                     BeCauSe i really
                                                                                                     DREAM TRAVEL: America.

                                     enJoy it.

     i  have always loved
        the idea of electricity
     because you can’t see it,
                                     out from school. But being a large organisation, RailCorp
                                     was happy to take me, and I saw RailCorp as a good
                                     opportunity to go back into the electricity field.
                                                                                                     THAT’S ME WHEN I CAME TO 
                                                                                                     AUSTRALIA IN 1989. I COULDN’T 
                                                                                                     SPEAK ANY ENGLISH.
     but you know it’s there.
                                     Now, as a Substation Distribution Apprentice, I am learning
     Electrical systems was          to maintain the equipment that transforms the power from
     the subject I studied in        AC to DC to supply the trains, station power and lighting.
     China and then I have           I also just joined the Protection Team in RailCorp looking
     a few years work in this        after RailCorp High Voltage Electrical Supply. Everywhere I
     field and I really enjoyed      work I learn something new because the system is so big.
     it. I never forgot it. That’s
     my best life. I move from       I think I’m lucky because I really enjoy it. I’m now doing a
     China to Australia when         Diploma in Electrical Engineering and I’m going to go on
     I was twenty-two years          and do an Advanced Diploma because I really want to be
     old and then, because           an Assistant Engineer.
     I’m mature age, I never
                                     To other people who are also mature age, I say don’t
     think about completing
                                     waste your knowledge and education, or be worried about
     an apprenticeship. I
                                     working when you have a family. Most people who work for
     thought apprenticeships
                                     RailCorp have families and RailCorp looks after you.
     are supposed to be for the
     young kids that just came       Don’t be shy; it’s a great opportunity. And electricity, it’s
                                     very interesting stuff!

22                                                                                                                                            2
                           i                                                                  for me, i thinK doing a
                              ’ve already been through         faster and faster. I now get
                               an apprenticeship as            to work outdoors, and it’s
                           a chef. I cooked for nine
                           years but what a life! Fifty-
                                                               in a different environment
                                                               every day. I’ve been to        trade-BaSed CourSe
                           five to sixty hour weeks, no
                           overtime payments, being
                                                               service depots, which deal
                                                               with maintenance, general      WaS the BeSt thing.                                                                    RailCorp

                           called every name under
                           the sun, not being able to
                                                               construction, emergency
                                                               breakdowns. I’ve been at       i loVe the oPtionS it’S
                           take holidays and having
                           to quit your job to get
                                                               the cables depot, which
                                                               deals with installation,       giVen me. i Can get a
                           Christmas off!                      joining and repair of the
                                                               physical cables, both          JoB anyWhere in the
                           I’m loving my
                           Apprenticeship. There’s
                                                               optical and copper. I’ve
                                                               worked with the data           World…
                                                               switch depot, which deals
                           a continual flow of new              with the data switches.                                                                       Chris Weir
                           technology coming into the          And I’m still only in my
                           network, and it’s getting                                                                                                         VehiCle Body Builder/
                                                               second year.

                                                                                              i   ’ve always known that       the freedom on the water.      trimmer
                                                                                                                                                             4th Year Apprentice
     and i’m already
                                                               Working with RailCorp has          when I left school, I’d     There’s nothing like it.
                                                               given me my weekends           want no more theory!            And the best thing for

     thinKing in the future
                                                               again. I can actually go       I knew I had to do              me is that I’ve been able
                                                               home and cook dinner for       something hands-on,             to use all the skills I’ve

     that i Want to get into                                   myself rather than sixteen
                                                               thousand other people.
                                                                                              creative, and with a lot of
                                                                                              variety. As a Vehicle Body
                                                                                                                              learnt in my trade, on my
                                                                                                                              sailing obsession as well.

     netWorK deSign or                                         And I’m already thinking
                                                               in the future that I want
                                                                                              Builder/Trimmer I get to
                                                                                              do welding, spray painting,
                                                                                                                              Now I can make my own
                                                                                                                              fi breglass repairs on my

     mayBe Continuing to an                                    to get into network design
                                                               or maybe continuing to an
                                                                                              carpentry, sheet metal
                                                                                              work, and some trimming.
                                                                                                                              boat, and I’m currently
                                                                                                                              making a boom cover for

     engineering CadetShiP.                                    engineering cadetship.

                                                               It’s given me my life back.
                                                                                              But of all the things I do,
                                                                                              fi bre glassing is the most
                                                                                                                              someone to protect the sail
                                                                                                                              on their yacht.
                                                                                              enjoyable. It’s so versatile.
                                                                                              You can make almost             For me, I think doing a
                                                                                              anything out of it and it’s     trade-based course was
                                                                                              lightweight, strong, and        the best thing. I love the
     alex Warren                                                                                                              options it’s given me. I can
                                                                                              easy to repair.
     teleCommuniCationS                                                                                                       get a job anywhere in the
     2nd Year Apprentice                                                                      My hobby is sailing. I love     world – and that’s a lot of
                                                                                              everything about it; the        variety.
                                                                                              adrenalin rush, the speed,

24                                                                                                                                                                                              25
     adam mobberley                               there’S So many
     VehiCle Body Builder/
     trimmer                                      different PartS
     4th Year Apprentice
                                                  inSide the train
     HIGH SCHOOL: Hills Sports High.
                                                  that i WorK on –
     FAVOURITE BAND: Mortal Sin.
     MOVIE: Blade.
     BEST FEATURE: Personality, of course.
     GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Finishing all
     my TAFE work.
                                                  Welding, a Whole
     DREAM TRAVEL: Canada.

                                                  range of Stuff.
                                                  it’S really teSted
                                                  my SKillS...

                                                              i  joined the Railways
                                                                 when I was fi fteen years
                                                              old, and around the same
                                                              time, I did a silly thing. I
                                                              was skating, and holding        has taught me a lot of things, like how to treat people. And    And the tradesmen are really great; you’ve always got
                                                              onto a car, came off, and hit   now I’m a leader at my church.                                  more than one person looking after you. And there is this
                                                              the back of my head. It put                                                                     one tradesman I really appreciated working with, Dave
                                                              me in a coma. I was on life     Working with RailCorp has taught me a lot too. The good         Matthew, he knew all his woodwork better than anyone
                                                              support. Nearly died. When      thing about it is that it’s a mature environment. I’m treated   else I know. Awesome guy. He built up my skills a lot but he
                                       RailCorp               I woke up, I wanted to          more like an adult than a kid, and that’s probably what I       helped me as a person as well.
                                                              change my life, so I started    enjoy most about it. My trade has given me everything that
                                                              going to church with a          I wanted. Vehicle Body Building is very versatile because       I’m happy with RailCorp, and hopefully I’m still working
                                                              mate. And it’s changed my       there’s so many different parts inside the train that you       somewhere on the railways in ten years time. It’s a great
                                                              perspective on things. I did    work on; electricity, metalwork, welding, a whole range of      environment to work, everyone’s interconnected. Yeah, it’s
                                                              a one week course, and I        stuff. It’s really tested my skills, and it’s showed me that    just like one big family.
                                                              was given a mentor who          I’ve got more skills than I thought I had.

26                                                                                                                                                                                                                           27
     Jeff damayo                       i’m really
     fitter maChiniSt
     Tradesman                         grateful to
                                       the other
                                       aPPrentiCeS and
                                       the tradeSmen
                                       Who PuShed me
                                       through. i KnoW
                                       noW thiS iS my
                                       thing and i Can
                                       do it.

                                          i ’ve got direction now. I know where I want to go
                                             and I owe that to the guys I’ve come through my
                                          apprenticeship with.
                                                                                                        I’m now doing a Diploma of
                                                                                                        Engineering and am still
                                                                                                        deciding as to whether to
                                                                                                        go straight to Uni and do
                                          In my second year, I was struggling with TAFE, and I          an electrical engineering
                                          had some doubts, but the other apprentices gave good          degree or take some time
                                          moral support. They were like, ‘Come on Jeff. Pull your       off and go over to Canada
                                          act together, you can do it.’ And I talked with some of the   and work up in the ski
                                          tradesmen at Hornsby, and they encouraged me to keep          resorts maintaining their
                                          going too. That’s when something clicked and I just started   lifts or something.
                                          to enjoy it more.
                                                                                                        I’m really grateful to the
                                          My trade is like being a mechanic. You deal with all the      other apprentices and the
                                          components of the train; change outs, brake valves, doors,    tradesmen who pushed me
                                          and you maintain anything that’s heavy, big and physical.     through. I know now this is
                                                                                                        my thing and I can do it.

28                                                                                                                                    29
     So i’m doing all right… not many      daniel upton

     PeoPle Can Say they’Ve WorKed         VehiCle Body Builder

     on reBuilding trainS, truCKS, and
     CarS. i thinK that’S Pretty Cool.     HIGH SCHOOL: Mount Carmel High
                                           School, Varroville.
                                           FAVOURITE TV SHOW: House.
                                           GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Completing
                                           my apprenticeship.
                                           SPARE TIME: Working on cars.
                                           DREAM TRAVEL: Japan.

                                            I WON AN AWARD AT THE 
                                            CAMPBELLTOWN EASTER SHOW FOR 
                                            MY REBUILT MIRAGE.

                                         m      y apprenticeship has opened my mind to what’s
                                                 actually out there in the industry.
                                                                                                       a custom body kit for it using the fi bre glassing skills
                                                                                                       I learned at TAFE. I resprayed it after I did a spray painting
                                                                                                       course I was offered, and I did the inside too, with just a
                                         As a Vehicle Body Builder, you basically learn little bits    little bit of engine and electrical work.
                                         of information from almost every trade, like basic auto
                                         electrical systems and hydraulic systems. And at TAFE,        I came from not liking school at all, to completing my
                                         you learn things you can just use around the house for        apprenticeship, getting skills from all trades and last year,
                                         home maintenance and stuff like that. It’s just such a big,   being nominated for Apprentice of the Year at TAFE.
                                         broad, open kind of trade.
                                                                                                       So I’m doing all right I reckon. Not many people can say
                                         With the skills I’ve learnt, I’ve pretty much rebuilt my      they’ve worked on rebuilding trains, trucks, and cars.
                                         Mirage, which had a little bit of body damage on the          I think that’s pretty cool.
                                         outside. I loved working on it in my spare time. I made

0                                                                                                                                                                      1
     there’S So muCh                                                          John macKey                       i thought it Would
     hiStory here                                                             Signal eleCtriCal
                                                                              4th Year Apprentice               Be a Pretty good
     and So many                                                              HIGH SCHOOL: Christian Brothers   hoBBy and then he
     PeoPle With a lot                                                                                          told me that he did
                                                                              MOVIE: The Odd Angry Shot.

     of KnoWledge                                                                                               thiS Sort of Stuff
                                                                              TV SHOW: The Bill.
                                                                              BEST FEATURE: Persistence.

     WhiCh they’Ve                                                                                              for a liVing.
                                                                              FAVOURITE BAND: Midnight Oil.
                                                                              SPARE TIME: Surf Lifesaving.

     handed on to me.
                                                                              DREAM TRAVEL: The UK.

                                                                                                                W       hen I was growing
                                                                                                                        up, I used to spend
                                                                                                                a bit of time with my
                                                                                                                                                I like working at XPT.
                                                                                                                                                They’re a good bunch
                                                                                                                                                of blokes and weirdly, it
                                                                                                                                                                               Phil Jones
                                                                                                                                                                               fitter maChiniSt
                                                                                                                next door neighbour,            seems like they’re all like
                                                                                                                tinkering around in his         my neighbour! One of

             i  was an accountant
                originally but after
             working for fi fteen years,
                                            second year of TAFE when
                                            I started. Brilliant.
                                                                            So now I’m working in
                                                                            blue collar; hands-on, less
                                                                            formal and outside in the
                                                                                                                garage, and with his boats.
                                                                                                                I thought it would be a
                                                                                                                pretty good hobby and then
                                                                                                                                                the supervisors actually
                                                                                                                                                rounded up the apprentices
                                                                                                                                                last year, and we all played
                                                                                                                                                                               HIGH SCHOOL: Greystanes High.
                                                                                                                                                                               MOVIE: The Departed.
                                                                                                                                                                               TV SHOW: The Simpsons of course.

             I wanted to do something       I’m in 4th year now and at      fresh air. I get to meet            he told me that he did this     in a cricket team called       GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Getting my
                                            the moment I’m working                                                                                                             Trade Certificate.
             different and get a trade.                                     different people all the            sort of stuff for a living.     The Musketeers. That           MOST INSPIRING: My Mum.
                                            in signal design in the         time, and hear different            So I applied to be a Fitter     was a good laugh. I really     FAVOURITE TEAM: Parramatta Eels.
             I was hesitant at fi rst.      city. The Signal Engineers      stories. It’s been such a           Machinist like him.             enjoyed that.                  DREAM TRAVEL: Europe or Africa.
             I’m forty years old, and       make alterations to their       change. Perfect!
             didn’t think I’d be able       track drawings and I go                                             That was four years ago         Down the track, I think
             to do an apprenticeship,       into AutoCAD and update                                             and now I’m a tradesman         I’d like to move into the
             so I decided to do a pre-      all the plans. I’ve learned a                                       at the XPT Maintenance          project management side
             apprenticeship electrical      lot. There’s so much history                                        Centre. I maintain              of engineering. And I think
             course at TAFE. This           here and so many people                                             components on the engine,       I really have my neighbour
             means six months full          with a lot of knowledge                                             like cylinder heads and         to thank for my job.
             time study to knock over a     which they’ve handed on                      RailCorp               pistons, and I check all        Because of him, I get to do
             year’s worth of work. It was   to me. I’ve still got heaps                                         the oil levels. I also change   something that I’ve always
             great. Not only did it help    to learn though which is                                            components of the cooling       loved.
             me get the apprenticeship,     good. It keeps me busy.                                             systems, pneumatic
             but I went straight into                                                                           systems, air brakes and
                                                                                                                heaps of other stuff.

     thingS moVe faSt… there’S        andrew Baillon
     a lot more to learn and          teleCommuniCationS

     a lot more to do than JuSt       4th Year Apprentice

     tomorroW or next WeeK.           HIGH SCHOOL: Sarah Redfern High
                                      MOVIE: Final Destination.
                                      TV SHOW: CSI.
                                      MOST INSPIRING: My Grandfather.
                                      FAVOURITE TEAM: South Sydney
                                      WHEN I WAS LITTLE... I wanted to be a
                                      lawyer when I grew up.
                                      CAREER AMBITION: To go as far as
                                      DREAM DATE: Jennifer Hawkins.                               RailCorp
                                      DREAM TRAVEL: The Seychelles... where
                                      my father is from.

                                  i   actually didn’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now,
                                      but life can be like that. You just switch paths. I’m a
                                  Fourth Year now, and I’m just about to go full tradesman.
                                                                                                 There was just no power for it. Nothing I tried worked and
                                                                                                 by this time the train’s already delayed and I’m thinking,
                                                                                                 ‘Oh great, what’s going on here?’ It ended up being a tiny
                                  It’s an awesome feeling.                                       connector that was working itself loose. So I re-crimped it,
                                                                                                 put it back in, plugged it up, no worries. And I didn’t delay
                                  There’s so many different depots that you can work in with     the second train; it got it out on time. I think I had about six
                                  Communications. There’s field depots, which mainly do          minutes to spare.
                                  things like phones, faxes, and work in stations and offices.
                                  There’s a data depot, which mainly focuses on modems.          Things move fast and are constantly changing. For me,
                                  There’s TAC, which does switches, routers (they’re very        there’s a lot more to learn and a lot more to do than just
                                  IT based in that section). Then you’ve got the technical       tomorrow or next week. You’re working on a system which
                                  specialist depots such as the Radio Service Centre where       just keeps getting bigger and bigger and where thousands
                                  I’m at. We look at the radio systems that the trains use to    of people rely on you everyday. That’s pretty awesome, too.
                                  talk to the control centres.

                                  I love it because there is something different to do every
                                  day. Like yesterday, there was a fault on the Metro Net.

4                                                                                                                                                                  5
                                                   it’S JuSt exCiting
                                                   BeCauSe When i
                                                   firSt Started my
                                                   aPPrentiCeShiP i had
                                                   no idea aBout any of
                                                   thiS Sort of Stuff.
            tristan Chambers
            SuBStation diStriBution

            2nd Year Apprentice                          hen I chose              wires, TV antennas and        rewire a power point or a
                                                         my electrical            run cables down the walls.    huge rail substation. It’s
            HIGH SCHOOL: Picnic Point High.
                                                   apprenticeship, I went for a   It was really different       pretty cool.
            MOVIE: Napoleon Dynamite.
            TV SHOW: Arrested Development.
                                                   company that would allow       and interesting, and the
                                                   me to continue learning        guys I worked with were       The plan is to do
            BEST BAND: Motion City Soundtrack.
                                                   and go to university.          constantly making me          engineering at TAFE or
            FAVOURITE TEAM: Liverpool in the
            English Premier League and Newcastle                                  laugh. It was good fun.       Uni next. I’m after as much
            Jets in the A-League.                  I’m doing a Substation                                       experience as I can get!
            INSPIRATION: Defi nitely my Dad
            because he seems to know everything    Distribution Apprentice-       Whenever I have some
            about everything.                      ship; we’re the guys who       spare time, I like working
            CAREER AMBITION: To become an          ensure the trains and the      on things at home. I’ve
            Electrical Engineer.
                                                   stations have the power        always been interested in
            DREAM TRAVEL: England and Europe.
                                                   to run. We work with high      electronics and working
                                                   voltage transformers and       with my hands, and now
                                                   rectifiers, and earlier this   I make circuit boards
                                                   year, I did a placement with   for different things. It’s
                                                   a private contractor. That     just exciting because
                                                   was probably my favourite      when I fi rst started my
                                                   part of this apprenticeship    apprenticeship I had no
                                                   ’cause I learnt how to         idea about any of this sort
                                                   install lighting, house        of stuff, and now I can
                BACK THEN I WAS BUILDING 
                WITH LEGO, NOW I REBUILD RAIL 

6                                                                                                                                            7
     i don’t KnoW Where i’ll Be in ten       Vannak gnar

     yearS. it Could Be anything;            rail traCtion
                                             3rd Year Apprentice

     mayBe in a management role or           HIGH SCHOOL: Fairfield High.

     mayBe running Wire in duBai!            FAVE MOVIE: Black Hawk Down.
                                             TV SHOW: Seinfeld.
                                             BEST BAND: Linken Park.
                                             FAVOURITE TEAM: Parramatta Eels.
                                             WHEN I WAS LITTLE... I wanted to be
                                             a pilot.
                                             CAREER AMBITION: Hopefully
                                             INSPIRATION: My Aunty.
                                             DREAM TRAVEL: China... to walk the
                                             Great Wall..


                                              I LOVE TRAVELLING… THIS IS ME IN 

                                         i  can’t go on a roller coaster ride or the ferris wheel, I’m
                                            too scared to do that, but when they ask me to get up
                                         the pole and run a new wire? No problem.
                                                                                                         I’ve become mates with most of the other apprentices in my
                                                                                                         year. We’re a really close bunch. We go to TAFE together,
                                                                                                         we go out together and we give each other a hand with
                                                                                                         things like moving house. This is a great job, you feel really
                                         I left school when I was eighteen and worked in the             looked after. I get to work outdoors, in different locations
                                         building industry doing odd carpentry work but I was            and meet new people.
                                         always interested in the electrical industry and getting a
                                         trade certificate. As a Rail Traction Apprentice we maintain    But the best part of all is that I don’t know where I’ll be in
                                         and construct overhead wiring and powerlines which feed         ten years. It could be anything; maybe in a management
                                         substations and trains. I’m also now getting the wires          role or maybe running wire in Dubai!
                                         ready for the new trains that are coming in. It’s a good
                                         feeling when you’re on the train and you go, ‘Oh yeah, I ran
                                         that wire.’ And you tell your friends.

8                                                                                                                                                                        9
     But noW i’m really Keen
     to taKe the next SteP
     With WorK and BeCome
     a tradeSman. then i Can
     get out there and Start
     WorKing my Way uP to a
     SuPerViSor or a manager.

                          Chris lawrence
                          fitter meChaniC
                          4th Year Apprentice

                      i  ’m a fourth year, Fitter Mechanic Apprentice. The work
                          can range from changing two or three bolts to something
                      like say, working on a motor that weighs 400-500kgs.
                                                                                    Trains aren’t like cars; all the cars are the same. Trains are
                                                                                    completely different.

                                                                                    I’ve always considered myself a leader and I suppose my
                      It feels good to know so much about trains. Like it’s weird   leadership comes through the strongest with my sport.
                      but impressive to be one of the few people who really         (When I’m not working I’m playing and coaching baseball.)
                      know what it’s about. You’ll be talking with your mates       But now I’m really keen to take the next step with work and
                      about something you’re doing at work and you’re rattling      become a tradesman. Then I can get out there and start
                      off all these names that they’ve never heard of.              working my way up to a Supervisor or a Manager.

40                                                                                                                                                   41
     i Wouldn’t mind Being a                                                                                     rod desmond

     SuPerViSor But right noW, Can’t                                                                             SuBStation diStriBution
                                                                                                                 3rd Year Apprentice

     Wait to finiSh. it’ll Be good to
     haVe my trade under my Belt!
                                                                                                             i  was working in a so-
                                                                                                                called dead end job and
                                                                                                             I couldn’t see any future
                                                                                                                                             little bit older. I mix it with
                                                                                                                                             the young blokes and it’s
                                                                                                                                             quite funny because I’ve
                                                                                                             for me, so I decided to         found that the younger
                                                                                                             take a pay cut and learn a      fellas, they sort of look up to

     luke Cowan                           i   was working my way through Year 11 when I decided
                                              that school’s not for me. I left and joined RailCorp and
                                          now, learning about how electricity works is interesting.
                                                                                                             new trade, something I’ve
                                                                                                             always wanted to do.
                                                                                                                                             me because they think me
                                                                                                                                             being older, that I should
     SuBStation diStriBution                                                                                                                 know everything.
                                          I’ve worked on a major transformer that blew up and I had          I’m a 3rd Year Substation
     3rd Year Apprentice
                                          to go out and fi x it in the pouring rain, and I’ve worked with    Distribution Apprentice         But I’m just happy to be
                                          cable joiners up at the mountains, putting all the overhead        and I’ve worked at the          here, and I’m happy to do
                                          cables in the underground.                                         Strathfield Equipment           anything really because
                                                                                                             Centre, at Substation           I’ve been taught stuff that         RailCorp

                                          In 2006, I won the Safety Competition for all Apprentices          Construction, at Substation     I never thought I’d ever
                                          in RailCorp. It was held at Homebush and I was in a team           Maintenance, and now I’m        learn. To anyone that has
                                          of two. One test was a role play where you go into a room          at Buildings and Sidings at     the opportunity to do an
                                          and fi nd water on the floor next to the drill and someone’s        Wynyard looking after the       apprenticeship later on in
                                          been electrocuted. Then you got to go through the steps of         electrical equipment for        life, like me, I’d say, ‘If I can
                                          what you have to do. The other test was a range of tools on        the whole city circle. I even   do it, anyone can!’
                                          benches and you had to check if they were right to use or          went out to Westmead
                                                                                                             Hospital for a rotation and

                                                                                                                                             they’Ve all tried to
                                          not: checking if they were tagged or visibly broken.
                                                                                                             really enjoyed that because
                                          I’m enjoying my Apprenticeship because it’s fun, good              I got to learn commercial
                                          money and ’cause I’d rather be hands-on than sitting in an
                                          office. Eventually, I wouldn’t mind being a supervisor but
                                                                                                             electrical skills.
                                                                                                                                             helP me and ShoW me
                                          right now, can’t wait to fi nish. It’ll be good to have my trade
                                          under my belt!
                                                                                                             And to be honest,
                                                                                                             everyone’s been great to        the Way to do thingS
                                                                                                             me. They’ve all tried to
                                                                                                             help me and show me the         and Some of the
                                                                                                             way to do things and some
                                                                                                             of the tradesmen I’ve been      tradeSmen i’Ve Been
                                                                                                             with are just fantastic. I’ve
                                                                                                             had no problems being a         With are JuSt fantaStiC.
42                                                                                                                                                                                          4
                                                                                                   ContaCt railCorP
     ProduCtion noteS
                                                                                                   If you are interested in finding out
     the Writer: leah Wood                                                                         more about current employment
     Assistant Project Officer, Human Resources, RailCorp                                          opportunities in RailCorp, please
                                                                                                   have a look at our job vacancies
     I love being in HR. It’s all about listening to people and helping them to feel valued and
                                                                                                   advertised on our website.
     successful. I have been working with apprentices since I started with RailCorp – straight
     out of University.                                                                            If you have any questions
                                                                                                   regarding a position vacancy
     The apprentices have taught me a lot. They have taken a different path to me but they
                                                                                                   you see advertised, or would like
     are all inspiring people in their own right. The apprentices can sometimes drive me
                                                                                                   further information about career
     crazy but they are all so skillful and intelligent and they make me proud to be part of the
                                                                                                   opportunities in RailCorp please
     same organisation.
                                                                                                   contact us.
     I’d like to thank them for sharing how they see the world and the laughs that we
     had together.
                                                                                                   reCruitment hotline
                                                                                                   1300 783 065

                                                                                                   reCruitment email



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