From fearless future builders to customer service stars, across the Transport cluster we have the opportunity to make a difference for our customers every day. That difference can be as simple as getting a stressed student to school on time or helping an elderly traveller home at night. As we connect people and deliver services like never before, we have the power to transform communities and even change lives. 

Some would argue that this is just an ordinary part of the job, but we think that these remarkable stories are extraordinary and worth sharing. Transport Mode meets just some of the people who are already taking it to the next level and making a difference.

Bringing a human touch
Across the Transport cluster, we know that our differences help make us stronger. It was this idea that inspired the Entry Level Talent Programs team to bring fresh thinking to the Transport cluster – all while bridging a critical employment gap within our community.

Refugees are significantly under-employed in Australia, despite the wealth of experience and expertise they bring from their home countries. So the idea behind the team’s Humanitarian Cadet Program is simple: offer refugees a six-month employment opportunity within the Transport cluster to build local experience relevant to their existing qualifications.

The program also helps participants overcome barriers they might face when applying for work in Australia, such as writing a resume in a second language, and offers extra technical and cultural awareness training. And the results of this program speak for themselves – 70% of cadets in our first intake secured ongoing roles within the Transport cluster!

Danielle Rees, the lead on the initiative, said the most satisfying part is getting to hear the first-hand stories of people that come through the program.

“We’re fed a lot of misinformation about refugees and their experiences,” she said.

“But they’re amazing, resilient people who are so committed to the workforce and incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work in Australia.”

Habib Daher, who’s currently completing the program, said that working within the Transport cluster has changed his life. “Since I arrived in Australia, all I wanted was an opportunity to prove myself,” he said.

“Transport has given me far more than that – I’ve had a family to support me, I’ve built up my skills and become familiar with the Australian working environment.”

“Now I am working hard to win a permanent position and I am so excited to continue working with Transport.”

Thinking outside the box
For some, making a difference is all about thinking outside of the box. Or in Graham Bradshaw’s case – outside of the Transport cluster. His day job is the Director of Strategic Projects at Transport for NSW but he loves joining forces with the Department of Primary Industries and the Department of Premier and Cabinet to turn some simple ideas into reality. One of those ideas is Buses to Bourke.

The team plans to repurpose retired State Transit buses to take local workers in Bourke to and from the town’s new $60 million goat abattoir. This will be life changing for the locals, many of whom are Aboriginal people, who are keen to take up job opportunities at the abattoir, but live up to 100km away and have no access to reliable transport options to get them there.

Thanks to Buses to Bourke, people will be able to get to work safely and easily. It will also boost jobs in the local area through new employment opportunities, particularly for Indigenous locals. The set-up of the new services and local maintenance of the buses, means over 150 new jobs will come into the community, providing income for families and a fresh start for many locals.

Graham is excited by the broader impact this initiative will have on the community.

“Buses to Bourke really is a win-win. Not only have we been able to put our old assets to good use, but we are providing new employment opportunities for locals, while at the same time prompting other groups with close links to Bourke to use the opportunity to support various health and social issues within the community.”

Savvy scrubbing solution
Cleanliness and safety is a top priority at our stations. So after years of using a scrubbing machine that was too bulky to clean the tiniest corners of our stations  and lifts at Sydney Trains, Awny Bishay (now working at NSW TrainLink) was determined to find a better way of doing things.

His team had tried mopping the areas, but it was too time consuming and didn’t deliver the best results. They tested out scrubbing by hand, but it caused too many staff injuries. That’s when Awny decided to find a different way of doing things. He searched the internet far and wide for solutions used by similar companies and found the perfect solution – a small, motorised scrubber.

Awny tested it out and approached the Customer Service management team with his idea. He’d already worked out that for an investment of just $37,000 we could save thousands of hours of our staff time cleaning 25 stations, which would in turn, save us over $700,000 a year when scaled across the network! The motor scrubber is now a permanent fixture, keeping our stations spick and span!

Awny Bishay took out the Sydney Trains Hargraves Innovators Award for his savvy solution

Rising to the challenge
Picture this. You’re asked to remove some shelving from one of our train signal rooms. Your mission is to do this quickly and safely, while navigating 500 boxes containing asbestos. Oh, and any small error could cut the signalling system on our train network.

What would you do?

When confronted with this very challenge, Brian Ashby from Sydney Trains proved there’s no problem that a little resourceful thinking can’t fix – as long as you’ve got some shower caps and an impressive team to help back you up!

The shower cap solution started as a lighthearted joke amongst the team, but sparked a bright idea for Brian. What if the team really could use shower caps for an extra layer of protection on the boxes? After all, they were cheap, elasticised and just the right size to help cover gaps and protect removalists from hazards.

After consulting the experts at Sydney Trains to ensure the idea complied with the team’s high safety standards, Brian got the go ahead to test the idea. And it was a success!

The team ordered bulk shower caps and got to work. Brian’s brainy solution helped to successfully move all of the boxes and remove the shelving from the warehouse. More importantly, this was done without endangering the removalists or impacting train signals. It shows that left field ideas can really help solve our trickiest problems!

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