Transnet staff complete GCU railway operations management degrees

16 October 2014

Principal Professor Gillies caps graduates with Transnet's Mr Molefe

Principal Professor Gillies caps graduates with Transnet's Mr Molefe

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE and Group Chief Executive of Transnet SOC Ltd, Mr Brian Molefe, today led the first graduation ceremony for Transnet employees who have completed degrees, diplomas and certificates in railway operations management, as the company intensifies training to boost its service.

The programme is the first of its kind that offers a formal qualification in railway operations management in South Africa. 

Eighty-five employees, mostly managers from Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Transnet’s largest unit, completed programmes especially designed for TFR. These included Bachelor of Science degrees in Railway Operations Management, Diplomas of Higher Education and Certificates of Higher Education.

Since the launch of the programme in 2012, nearly 600 employees have registered and an estimated 5,000 are expected to graduate through the programme. The programme is delivered in partnership between GCU, the University of Johannesburg, the UK’s Institution of Railway Operators and Transnet’s School of Rail.

The graduates will hold qualifications from GCU, with the programme delivered locally in partnership with the University of Johannesburg. The programme originated in the UK through collaboration with the Institution of Railway Operators.

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE said: “I feel honoured to have the chance to attend this special graduation ceremony and congratulate the Transnet Freight Rail employees for what they have achieved. We have forged a unique and successful partnership with Transnet Freight Rail and the University of Johannesburg, and co-created courses of relevance to business, that we hope will have a transformative impact on the graduating Transnet Freight Rail students.

“This project is an outstanding example of our University’s enduring commitment to our social mission, to work for the common good.”

Transnet has set aside R7 billion of its R312 billion seven-year infrastructure investment programme for skills development and training.

Speaking at the graduation, Mr Molefe said: “We are confident that a significant percentage of graduates will become teachers and votaries for rail - spreading knowledge in the same way, planting seeds for future generations to nurture. They need to go out there and sell their vision of what a prosperous, educated and stable Africa will look like.”

Programme participants are exposed to a wealth of new ideas and approaches in railway operations. The benefits to Transnet have been immediate and tangible; more skillful colleagues and an improvement in performance and productivity.

Transnet Freight Rail Chief Executive, Mr Siyabonga Gama said: “Training of our people is central to our strategy as we march towards being a world-class railway for better service for our customers.”