Asian Rail Academy to roll out skilled workforce for industry

(From left) Zailani, Human Resources Ministry deputy secretary-general (policy and international) Amir Omar, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki TreadellTreadell, ARA chief executive officer R.A. Thiagaraja, Vignaesvaran and NTAR UK business development head Jennifer Walpole at the launch of the Asian Rail Academy at the British High Commissioner’s residence.

ASIAN Rail Academy (ARA) is partnering industry leaders to provide globally recognised industry-relevant certification programmes in traction, rolling stock and railway safety, making Malaysia the key training hub in the rail industry.

Being Asia’s first authorised training partner of the British National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR), ARA is also the first training provider in the region to offer rail safety certification programmes from TÜV SÜD, Germany’s international authority on rail safety standards.

Representing Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Anak Jaem at the launch event in Kuala Lumpur, Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) chief executive Datuk C.M. Vignaesvaran Jeynadran said ARA was timely as it meets the training requirements of the rail industry in Malaysia and forges the future of rail training in Asia.

“With the rapid growth of the local rail industry, the Malaysian Government is expected to invest more than RM160bil by 2030 to develop advanced rail infrastructure and new lines.

“With training programmes in the rail industry established in Malaysia, we fulfil a key pillar of the 11th Malaysia Plan in enhancing human capital development and propelling the country to greater advancement towards becoming a highly-skilled and developed nation,” he shared.

Training by ARA, which starts in September, is targeted at the existing workforce to help them acquire industry-related skills as well as fresh graduates to improve their employability.

ARA will also be the pioneer training facility in the country to use virtual reality through the use of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset, with which trainees will be able to visualise and interact with rail components in virtual 3D to enhance their learning experience.

Trainees get to learn the detailed workings of a train, diagnose faults, maintain equipment and perfect their skills in a safe and effective virtual environment at a lower cost, compared with using physical equipment.

The event also saw Technology Depository Agency Bhd (TDA) signing an agreement with ARA and memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HRDF to support the National Rail Centre of Excellence (NRCOE) which caters to local railway industry needs in the area of education and training.

TDA chief executive officer Datuk Zailani Safari said: “Today, we have seven rail networks including the newly launched MRT SBK Line, and we are expecting more in Malaysian railway development with the initiation of MRT2, LRT3, East Coast Rail Link and High Speed Rail.

“TDA will further facilitate the continued growth of rail industry infrastructure, undertake research, plan and coordinate development aspects of rail-based transport in order to create an efficient, economical and safe rail-based transport ecosystem through the Industrial Collaboration Programme (ICP).

“NRCOE is aimed at closing the gap in human capital development which currently stands at 20,000 workers; the targeted railway workforce is 68,000 by 2030.”

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