When Metro Trains Melbourne won the contract to manage Melbourne’s busy metropolitan rail network in 2009 they were faced with a massive task involving the merging of four previously separate companies. For the Learning and Development team this meant finding commonality among the existing training cultures and bringing cohesion and consistency to learning for nearly 5000 staff working across station operations, train driving, project delivery, corporate management and maintenance of rail stock, tracks, signals and electrical infrastructure.
“When I came to the role seven years ago the most important activity was to bring four separate training departments together to work as one team and create a new vision,” said Nicole Sullivan, Metro Trains Manager, Learning and Development.
“Our winning of the Large Employer of the Year Award at the 2016 Australian Training Award is validation of what the Learning and Development team have put in place and recognition of the expertise, effort and generosity of people in the industry who have helped us do something quite special.”
The result is the achievement of a number of “industry-altering” milestones: the establishment of a $3.5 million state of the art training academy; achievement of RTO status; qualifications for more than 2000 staff across a range of disciplines; design and delivery of new courseware contextualised for the rail industry; and, importantly for an inherently dangerous work environment, sweeping policy changes that led to a complete re-design of safety training courses.
“Innovation is the hallmark of our training and this can be seen in our purpose-built railway simulation track which allows electrical apprentices to practise and build their skills in a safe environment; our virtual reality driver training simulation; our role playing and scenario based safety training and customer service training which we conduct on the platform in a live environment,” said Nicole.
“We embed training into every aspect of our business and our organisational culture, and anchor it to improving the quality and consistency of our customer experience. Our success in doing this has significantly contributed to a 10 point increase in customer satisfaction between 2009 and 2016. We’re now looking at how we can use technology-enhanced learning such as virtual reality to enable the business to achieve new ambitious targets for performance and customer satisfaction.
“An important aspect of winning the Australian Training Awards are the opportunity to highlight the value of training in building reputational excellence and our demonstrated commitment to providing accredited programs to our employees and contractors,” said Nicole. “Our industry is experiencing unprecedented investment in major projects, and we have built a strong foundation of skills from which we can begin the next transformation of our business.”