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.
Canadian English-Language Railway Conductor Programs
Lambton College – Sarnia, Ont.
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) – Calgary, Alta.
Canadian Bilingual Railway Conductor Programs
Champlain College – To come in 2017
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) – Vancouver, B.C.
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
Scholarships, Financial Aid & Diversity Recruitment
Below is a list of scholarships, diversity recruitment programs and financial aid resources offered by Canadian railways and governments, to help you achieve your goal of working in the rail industry.
Railway Industry Initiatives
CN’s Aspire Program
CN’s Aspire Program provides young women with the resources they need to plan an innovative career in railway operations.
CN’s Diversity Scholarship Program
CN offers grants to support the post-secondary education of women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, military veterans and people of Aboriginal heritage enrolled in programs relevant to CN’s core business.
CP’s Immigrant Work Experience Program
CP partners with several organizations – such as the YMCA’s Canadian Employment Skills Program and the Centre for Newcomers, in Calgary, Alta. – to provide an opportunity for skilled immigrants to gain work experience in Canada’s railway sector.
CP’s Military Recruitment Program
CP recognizes the valuable skills and experience that members of the military gain from serving their country, and the company partners with military organizations to assist their personnel in transitioning to civilian jobs.
VIA Rail’s Military/Reservist Recruitment
VIA Rail recognizes that veteran military members and reservists have skills that are transferable to both management and front-line jobs within the railway industry. The company partners with a number of organizations that assist transitioning military members in their search for a civilian job.
Apprenticeship Incentive Grant
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year, up to a maximum of $2,000 per person, available to registered apprentices once they have successfully finished their first or second year/level (or equivalent) of an apprenticeship program in one of the Red Seal trades.
Apprenticeship Completion Grant
The Apprenticeship Completion Grant is a one-time taxable cash grant of a maximum of $2,000 available to registered apprentices who have successfully completed their apprenticeship training and obtained their journeyperson certification in a designated Red Seal trade.
Canada Apprentice Loan
The Canada Apprentice Loan can help you to complete your apprenticeship in a designated Red Seal trade. Starting in January 2015, you can apply for up to $4,000 in interest-free loans per period of technical training ― for everything from to tuition, to tools, equipment and living expenses.