Courtney Judge is considering a career change as a QR National train driver.
Courtney Judge is considering a career change as a QR National train driver.

Program getting new skills on track

A CHANCE encounter could deliver Courtney Judge the opportunity of a lifetime.

Driving a train wasn’t something Courtney thought she’d ever be able to, or get the chance to do, but when a Bluff-based coal train driver told her of traineeship opportunities opening up with QR National, she decided it was something worth investigating.

“I was having a conversation with a man... we got to talking about what he did and he said he was a train driver from Bluff,” she said.

“Then he started telling me about how much you could earn and of the new traineeships opening up, and I thought it was something I might be interested in.”

A few phone calls later and Courtney was hooked on the idea.

Within three months she could be a fully-qualified train operator working the Central Queensland coal lines, earning more than $100,000 a year.

While the 21-year-old admitted going from being a sales consultant to a train driver seemed “crazy”, it was something that interested her.

Courtney said she had swapped universities midway through a Bachelor of Education degree on the Sunshine Coast and moved to Emerald to be with her long-time partner.

That prepared her for the inevitable move to Bluff, should she be successful in the application process at QR National.

“I’d take the job, not so much for the change in career, but the travel opportunities,” she said.

“It’s not all about the pay cheque.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to like what you do.”

A QR National spokesperson yesterday said the company’s Major Skills Program which included the traineeship Courtney applied for, was aimed at capturing future skilled workers in the growing business.

“QR National has been working with schools in the Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Ipswich regions to raise interest and awareness about school-based traineeships and apprenticeships,” the spokesperson said.

“QR National offers traineeships that range from locomotive drivers to business administration.”

The spokesperson said the largest growth area for the company was in the coal and iron ore regions of Queensland and Western Australia, with more than 40% of employees living in regional Queensland.

“Some of the recent locomotive driver trainee intakes and recruitment opportunities have included the Townsville-Mt Isa freight corridor, Gladstone to Moura and Blackwater coal corridors, the Hunter Valley coal corridor in New South Wales and freight opportunities in Western Australia.”

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