Kalgoorlie-Boulder is now home to a state-of-the-art virtual reality train shunting and driving training centre.
The new Aurizon regional training hub, at the company’s West Kalgoorlie depot, officially opened yesterday and is the first of its kind in WA.
It will be the first time the freight company has used the $1 million VR technology to train regional employees in shunting and driving.
At the opening ceremony Aurizon manager training Sue Jefford said the technology would train new employees in half the time it usually took and in a more efficient and safer environment.
“We train approximately 200 trainees per year in WA to be shunters and then trainee drivers,” she said.
“With this new VR technology, what usually takes 20 days of being in classrooms and out on the field, will do it in 50 per cent of the time now.
“This is so important because it allows us to support the future workforce demands.”
At the moment. the VR technology will be used for trainee shunters and the company is in the process of finalising the driving locomotives training.
Ms Jefford said the new technology would not only help the company in recruiting, which she said was a challenge in the industry, but it would also “improve the value trainees get from their learning”.
“There has been research done that shows training with VR increases retention of employees by 30 per cent,” she said.
As the company looks to grow its WA customer base, general manager iron ore central west Anna Dartnell said Kalgoorlie-Boulder played a major role in its growth.
“Kalgoorlie is uniquely placed to become Aurizon’s regional training hub for our new rail recruits in WA,” she said.
“We see so much growth coming in from the central corridor and the Kalgoorlie freight is an important lifeline for industry and the mining industry particularly.
“Kalgoorlie is the perfect training ground for all new WA operational recruits to our business.”
Two more training centres will be set up at the company’s operations on the east coast.