Summary of ATHRA Meeting (23/11/19)

On 04/12/2019, in News, by ATRQ Admin

At the recent ATRQ AGM, a number of concerns were raised about the proposed Amalgamation into the national T&H Body ATHRA. Despite the concerns, a motion to transition towards an amalgamation was carried by the meeting – the details of which can be found in the meeting minutes posted (or soon will be) on this site. At our meeting, an undertaking was to attend the ATHRA general meeting that was being held in Brisbane a fortnight after ours, and that a summary of the meeting was to be reported back to the Queensland Membership. This summary also contains some impressions taken from the meeting.

Some Queensland members were dubious about the ability for half the ATHRA board members to be appointed, rather than voted into board positions. The scenario specifically raised was that a disparate number of representatives could be appointed from one specific state, to drive home very state based agendas. There is simply no evidence of this. The purpose of the appointed positions is to access experts from either the sector or industry for their skills in dealing with challenges or issues that might affect the sector. It gives the chairperson of a major working party or subcommittee an opportunity for a seat on the board and with that, the ability to drive policy direction and decisions with an appropriate level of authority. It should be noted that with the ONRSR now being a fully national regulator with the recent inclusion of Victoria, the issues affecting the T&H sector are no longer state based issues, but have become national issues. It is only sensible that a national approach be taken to address the challenges facing the sector.

Some Queensland members voiced frustration about the failed undertakings regarding consultation for amendments to the ATHRA constitution. ATHRA acknowledges the tardiness, citing resourcing issues to progress with this. At the meeting there was an assurance that a constitutional review consultation document will be released in the next couple of months.

Another Queensland concern was the capacity for ATHRA to levy amounts from members. While this was raised during the the Queensland Transition Brief there it was not specifically addressed with any assurances. However an observation from the meeting was that this avenue of obtaining funds was not actively explored where there was an identified need to fund a particular activity. To be monitored during the transition.

The most striking thing from the meeting was the interaction between ONRSR and ATHRA with regards to consultation relating to brewing issues and proposed changes to National Law and reporting procedures. This simply no longer happens at state level – as ONRSR actively seek engagement with the national body for input and comment on looming changes. Examples include:

  • Fatigue Guidelines
  • SMS Draft Template
  • Rail Safety Induction package
  • Data Strategy
  • Streamlining Reporting requirements

Finally, ATHRA has self identified that its ability to communicate with the broader membership is poor. This was raised as a concern at the ATRQ meeting, with some explicit examples given. To their credit, ATHRA is very self aware of this shortcoming, and also with that of a centralised system of document management and record control. I volunteered my organisation to assist with developing systems that will improve this aspect and is being done in collaboration with the ATHRA System Admin.

Tagged with:

Training and Assessment in the Sector

On 04/03/2012, in News, Training, by ATRQ Admin

The tourist and heritage railways will be no doubt aware that the skills to operate and maintain our aging and historic equipment is becoming increasingly rare as those with the old knowledge begin leaving our heritage organisations as age creeps up, and overtakes them. Add to that the burden of ever increasing compliance conditions, regulatory and statutory requirements, and things are becoming difficult for the survival of some groups. Not only is the passing of old skills and knowledge happening in the T&H sector, but those institutions that we once relied on for training our  new members are no longer capable of providing these services to keep some form of continuity in our skills base. So while we can’t do anything about father time creeping up on our skilled and older members, we can do something about training and bringing new blood and life into the sector.

The coming skills shortage was recognised by the Australian Tourist and Heritage Railway Association around four years ago. They orchestrated a major project to create a set of training standards that would be common across the industry and meet with regulatory approval. Ideally competencies could be assessed without reference to an overriding Registered Training Organisation, while still working within the guidelines of the Australian Qualification Framework.

Funding for the project was secured through the former Standing Committee of Rail Transport Group. David Rumsey and Associates were engaged to produce the packages, which were mapped against national transport and logistics training packages where applicable, as well as from a range of other relevant training systems  from around the country.

The results are a set of documents structured as a template from which each T&H organisation can build their own packages specific to their type of operation. Those that already have a strong training regime can use the packages as a method to check their existing system. One immediate advantage for steam locomotive operation is that the system does away with the old three levels of boiler certificate that the department of training and industrial relations used to issue (which  were suited to powerhouse boilers!) – not to mention the abandoning the old ‘reciprocating steam engine’ certificate. These certificates were barely relevant to steam locomotive operation.

In the first instance, T&H organisations interested in reviewing the lesson plans should consult the Customisation Guildelines document, which is part of the total package. This gives the actual nuts and bolts (and far better explanation than I could give) of the way the system is intended to work.

To date the following lesson plans have been developed:

  • Diesel Locomotive Driver
  • Steam Locomotive Driver
  • Tram Driver
  • Second Person
  • Fireman
  • Guard
  • Train Examiner
  • Safe Worker

In each job type, the packages are divided into four separate documents:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Knowledge Checklist
  • Performance Checklist
  • Mentors Q and A

All the documents (.PDF Versions only) are available from the Training Page (a sub page of the Resources Page) on this site. Editable Word files are available to financial ATRQ members – details are on the Training page. ATRQ recommend that in order to preserve the integrity of the system, completed lesson plans should be validated through industry peers (more details to follow) and that assessments should be done by a person other than the trainees mentor, and who holds certificate IV in workplace training and assessment. ATRQ will maintain a database of suitable assessors who are prepared to make themselves available around the state to carry out such tasks. It should be noted that the system has been approved by the office of the Single Rail Regulator,Whose position takes affect from January next year.

Tagged with: