Horizons Program

Horizons Shaping Rail’s Technical Future

The Horizons Program is part technology incubator, part knowledge sharing and part leadership development. Most importantly, the Horizons Program seeks to address the challenges of the future rail industry, today.

Participants will be taken on a practical professional journey, growing their knowledge of cutting-edge technology and developing an innovation mindset that will help position your organisation as a business of the future. The next generation of leaders will evolve their 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration, alongside other handpicked young leaders from Australia and beyond and learn about RISSB and Standards development.

Over the past two years, approximately 160 young leaders from 40 organisations have networked, learnt and grown their way through this program.


Horizons Program Format

The Horizons Program includes:

  • Up to 5 forums (Get togethers delivered virtually, face-to-face or as a hybrid event depending on relaxation or enforcement of government travel restrictions throughout Australia and beyond) featuring CEOs, technical leaders and other influencers
  • Workshops to learn how to present
  • Webinars covering a range of technical and professional topics
  • Developing an understanding of what RISSB does and how Standards are developed
  • Innovation training (e.g. a hackathon)
  • Group projects such as the development of a technology inspired monthly newsletter
  • Developing and presenting group ideas to panels of industry leaders.

Resource Materials

Download Horizons Program Brochure

Key Dates
Nominations have closed.

Horizons Program 4.0 will start in early February 2022 with an introductory Teams meeting followed by a forum in Melbourne in Feb/early March. Future forums are scheduled to be held in Brisbane in May and in Sydney late July/early August.

For more information
If you would like to know more about the Horizons Program, please contact Phil Allan on 0401 120 978.

Where Are They Now?

More than 200 people from approximately 40 organisations have learnt, networked and grown through our immersive Horizons Program over the past three years. We asked three of our Horizons Program alumni to share what they have been doing since they left the program.

Name Ronan McInerney

Which Horizons Program were you on? Horizons 1

Employer at the time you joined Metro Trains Melbourne

Job title when you joined Human-Machine Interface (HMI) Specialist

Employer at the time you joined Metro Trains Melbourne

Job title now Human Machine Interface (HMI) Specialist

Employer now Metro Trains Melbourne (currently seconded to Rail Network Alliance)

What your current job entails
I’m part of a team delivering the software that will be used to remotely monitor and control the equipment in the new stations and tunnels being built in Melbourne’s CBD. I work between the operations team and the developers to ensure the software will be safe and intuitive to use.

What you wanted to get out of the Horizons Program and how the Horizons Program helped you achieve your career goals
Having come from a Defence background, I was new to rail when I first joined the Horizons Program. Horizons connected me with like-minded individuals in the industry and helped me better understand the myriad different skills and knowledge required to build and operate a rail network.

Name Sophie Rayner

Which Horizons Program were you on? Horizons Program 2.0

Job title when you joined Level 5 Network Control Officer

Employer at the time you joined Queensland Rail

Job title now Train Control Leader

Employer now Queensland Rail

What your current job entails
I play an integral part in the Day of Operations management of the Southeast Queensland suburban rail network. I jointly lead a team of Network Control Officers (NCO), Assistant Controllers, Customer Communications Officers (CCO) and Train Monitoring Officers (TMO) to achieve safe and efficient operational outcomes for stakeholders and passengers alike. I proactively monitor and manage Rail Management Centre operations and liaise with the Day of Operations Coordinator and other internal/external stakeholders to implement and optimise the Daily Train Plan.

What you wanted to get out of the Horizons Program and how the Horizons Program helped you achieve your career goals
My specific goal was to use what I learned in the program to grow my personal knowledge of the rail industry and interpersonal skills to help progress within Queensland Rail to a leadership role. Utilising the knowledge and experience gained during my time in the Horizons program, I recently completed my training as a Train Control Leader and am currently acting in the role.As a young member of an industry that is rapidly growing, opening to technological advances and developing new ways of successfully managing all aspects of rail operations safely and efficiently, the Horizons Program gave me opportunity to expand my understanding of the rail industry, learning from industry leaders and extending my professional network. Gaining experience and confidence throughout the program has given me the skills required as a young leader to manage the various changes facing our industry into the future.

Name Bryan Lai

Which Horizons Program were you on? Horizons Program 1

Job title when you joined Rail Systems – Senior Project Engineer 

Employer at the time you joined Downer Group

Job title now Rail Systems – Interface & Integration Manager 

Employer now Downer Group 

What your current job entails
Delivery of Rail Signalling and Communication (S&C) Systems. Ensuring that all S&C systems are well integrated with other subsystems to enable a successful and safe delivery of the project. I have also been participating in Rail Project tenders. Scope includes planning and integration of Rail Systems Testing & Commissioning activities and pricing of overall S&C delivery works.

What you wanted to get out of the Horizons Program and how the Horizons Program helped you achieve your career goals

To be able to communicate well, share and learn from participants of different organisations around Australia and New Zealand was what I wanted to get out of the Horizons Program 1.0. The program has helped me be a more well rounded team player and be able to lead a team by examples, not just through learning but also sharing and caring for others as well.