Wondering how you can get started in your railway career? New recruits can enter the industry right out of high school and get on-the-job training through entry-level positions at railway companies. But there are also training programs, apprenticeships, scholarships and diversity recruitment programs designed to get you on board with the industry. Several companies also offer training courses to help existing rail employees get the skills they need to advance in their careers. Scroll below to learn more.
Railway Conductor Program
The Railway Conductor Program helps to prepare students for a career in operations in the Canadian railway industry. Developed in consultation with Canada’s railways and offered by a select number of colleges across the country, the program combines classroom instruction with hands-on learning at lab facilities, industrial sites and rail yards, to simulate real working conditions. Students learn the Canadian Rail Operating Rules, and key skills such as switching and marshalling cars, handling dangerous goods, performing inspections, and keeping records.
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) – Vancouver, B.C.
Confederation College Railway Conductor – Thunder Bay, Ontario
Lambton College – Sarnia, Ont.
Red River College – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) – Calgary, Alta.
Apprenticeships are workplace-based training programs that teach students the skills they need to perform tasks to an industry standard. Students spend most of their time training on-the-job under the supervision of a certified tradesperson, but they also do some technical training through a college or training centre. Once apprentices have completed the required hours of training for their trade, they can write the certification exam to work in their province or territory. Apprentices can also take the Red Seal exam, which will allow them to work across Canada.
Railways typically offer apprenticeships for three skilled trades ― Heavy Duty Equipment Technicians, Industrial Electricians and Welders. Click the links below to learn more about these trades, including the essential skills you’d use on the job, and the exams you’d need to pass in order to become certified.
Internships are a great way to get work experience, and to figure out if the railway industry is right for you. A number Canadian railways offer internships, giving students an opportunity for hands-on learning and training, and sometimes leading to permanent positions. Browse the list of current internships below, to see if there’s one that’s right for you.
CN’s internship and co-op opportunities offer students hands-on, real-world work experience with compensation and exposure to a leading North American railway company.
Looking for training to advance your railway career? A number of Railway Association of Canada associate members offer hands-on training courses on topics such as air braking, Canadian Rail Operating Rules, car and locomotive maintenance, dangerous goods, industrial railway operations, track maintenance and inspection, and safety management. Click on the links below to see the types of training courses offered by each company.
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
Canadian Heartland Training Railway
RTC Rail Solutions Ltd.
Sandy Cooke Railway Training Solutions
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) – Centre for Rail Training and Technology