The future is bright in Maryborough

Downer’s 151-year-old rail factory in Maryborough, Queensland, is steeped in history. And, thanks to an industry-leading apprenticeship and trainee program, the site’s future is in good hands.

The program provides job and career opportunities for young people in the region and ensures the substantial skills and expertise onsite are passed on to the next generation.

In January 2021, Downer welcomed 12 new full-time apprentices, two warehouse trainees and five school-based apprentices, who joined over 250 permanent employees at the Fraser Coast factory.

The recruits include apprentice electricians, fitters and turners, spray painters and coppersmiths, who are developing their skills delivering rollingstock manufacturing, overhaul, repair and refurbishment services for Queensland.

Lucy Williams is one of the new apprentices to grow the ranks in Maryborough, with the new intake bringing the total number of apprentices and trainees onsite to 42.

The apprentice spray painter leads a busy life as a first-time mum to baby Isabella, and fiancé to Fly-In-Fly-Out worker, Matt. While balancing work, study and family life can be a challenge, Lucy is excited to be working at Downer and learning new skills.

For Lucy, working at Downer is more than just a job, it’s an opportunity to provide for her family and build a career.

“I am so grateful to Downer for giving me a chance,” she said. “To continue my apprenticeship has been a goal of mine for the past two years and now I am finally able to do that.”

A key focus of the apprentice and trainee program is to attract more females into the traditionally male-dominated rail industry.

The Maryborough team holds an International Women’s Day event every year for female school students in Years 10-12, giving them an opportunity to tour the facility and speak to some of our people about career pathways. Our team also actively engages local schools around work experience opportunities. These two initiatives have seen a large increase in the number of young women applying for our apprenticeship program.

Lucy is one of eight women joining the Maryborough team as apprentices or trainees in 2021.

“For the young women out there, come on in,” Lucy said. “There are many women in trade industries these days – join us.

“Don’t worry about feeling out of place or anything like that. Especially at Downer, we are one big family. Everyone is a Dad, Mum, sister and brother to each other around here. You’ll be well looked after and supported.”

This initiative demonstrates Downer’s contribution to achieve the following Sustainable Development Goal: #5 Gender equality.