Newsletter 9

Employer Administrator Update #9

The Rail Industry Worker Program (RIW) manages competencies for rail industry workers. We thought a timely refresher might be helpful for RIW employer administrators, so let’s clarify some of the key points…

What is a competency?

Competence (or competency) is the ability to demonstrate knowledge or the application of a task successfully and consistently. In the Rail Industry, the term competence refers to a number of requirements including qualifications, accreditation, validation and re-validation authorisation, currency, and certification.

There are some competencies such as safeworking competencies that expire within a nominated time frame. This means that a worker would need to be re-assessed to remain competent.

A qualification or unit of competency issued under the Standards for RTOs can also be considered a competency.  For the purposes of the Rail Industry Worker Program and the safety critical nature of the roles performed, most qualifications/units do not expire, however workers may be required to prove they have maintained the appropriate level of competency against certain units. A re-validation date will be shown in the RIW system for this purpose.

In the RIW system, competencies are categorised as:
  • National – a competency that is nationally recognised, such as TLIF10001A Follow Occupational Health & Safety Procedures, which can be uploaded to the RIW system by an Employer Administrator or Registered Training Organisation.
  • Employer – a competency that is specific to an Employer, such as John Holland Examine Track Infrastructure, which can be uploaded to the RIW system by an Employer Administrator.
  • Network-Based – a competency that is specific to a Network, such as Queensland Rail Safety Access the Rail Corridor or ARTC National Contractor Induction, which can be uploaded to the RIW system by an Employer Administrator.
  • Project-Based – a competency that is specific to a Project, such as NWPA Face to Face Induction (Project Level). Project based competencies can only be awarded by a Project Administrator or by individuals swiping in at a Project by an Access Controller.
  • Site-Based – a competency, such as a toolbox talk or induction, which can be awarded to individuals swiping in at site by an Access Controller or Site Based Administrator.
  • Zone-Based – similar to a site-based competency but specific to a zone, it can be awarded to individuals swiping in to a zone by an Access Controller or Site Based Administrator.
Who determines the competencies required to work in the rail industry?

To ensure that the RIW Program is fit for purpose and guided by industry, a governance committee was established comprising rail operators, track owners and rail contractors.

The National Rail Industry Worker Governance Committee (NRIWGC) includes safety managers, competency managers, training managers and other professionals working for accredited rail operators, infrastructure organisations and rail contractor representatives. The NRIWGC is responsible for driving continuous improvement of the RIW Program through developing and reviewing the National Role Matrices and National Business Rules. The National Role Matrices provide standardised roles to allow more access and portability for rail workers across the Australian rail network. Where a Rail Operator still requires specific network roles and competencies, these are developed internally by each Rail Operator and form part of their network role matrices. In addition, both Rail Operators and Contractor Representatives also have the responsibility to develop employer-based roles and competencies, listing the specific requirements to hold the relevant roles for their organisation. You can access the National and Network Operator matrices on the RIW website.

Business Rules have been developed to provide further consistency and an agreed minimum of acceptance criteria for the verification of competence across RIW program participants. These underlying business rules provide guidance to the RIW Program Service Desk. For more information please visit the RIW Business Rules page.

The NRIWGC are currently developing new matrices in Project Management and Signalling. If you have a query regarding new competency matrices in development, please contact the Australasian Railway Association on
How do I add a new competency to a worker’s profile?

Employer Administrators can add competencies to a worker’s profile.  Please refer to the Quick Guide – Adding a new competency to a worker’s profile, or watch the how-to video on assigning and suspending competencies.

Once the competency has been uploaded, it can take up to 2 business days to be verified by the RIW Verifications Team.  However, competency verification can be fast tracked at a cost of $55+GST, which means it will be verified within 8 business hours. Please note that if you choose to fast track the verification, the one fee can cover up to 20 competencies for each individual worker. To use this service, continue adding fast track competencies to the Shopping Basket, but do not pay until all competencies are added. Refer the instructions in the Quick Guide – Adding a new competency to a worker’s profile.

If a competency is rejected, the RIW Verifications Team will provide you with notes as to why the competency has been rejected.  Consult the Quick Guide – Management of rejected competencies for the remediation process.

Premium Functionality Employers can also create employer based competencies for their projects, sites and zones by following directions in the Quick Guide – Creating employer based competencies for Premium Functionality Employers.

  • If a National competency was completed through a Registered Training Organisation, they can upload evidence directly to a worker’s profile, which means no verification is required. In a future release, this will also be extended to Network and Employer competencies.
  • In the instance a worker has completed a course via e-learning, the competency will be assigned to their profile upon completion and appear immediately.
Reminder: Rail Industry Worker System Online Training

MTA are holding a number of online training webinars to assist Employer Administrators with understanding the key functions of the new RIW system. This week we will be covering competencies, so register your attendance here.

Thursday 17 October 2019, 12 noon AEST
Adding job roles and competencies, verification process, uploading evidence, Q&A.

Thursday 24 October 2019, 12 noon AEST
Creation of projects and sites, setting up sites, scheduling site based competencies, visitor passes, e-learning, work restrictions, Q&A.
To find out more information about the Rail Industry Worker Program please visit  To view previously issued newsletters visit News & Updates.