GCU delivers Railway Operations Management programme in South Africa

29 March 2012

GCU is working with Transnet Freight Rail in South Africa

GCU is working with Transnet Freight Rail in South Africa

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is working in partnership with The University of Johannesburg and the Institution of Railway Operators to deliver a BSc in Railway Operations Management by Learning Contract to South Africa’s largest freight rail organisation, Transnet Freight Rail.

The programme was designed by GCU’s Scottish Centre for Work Based Learning in partnership with the Institution of Railway Operators and has involved over 300 UK participants. In accordance with GCU’s mission, international strategy and business development ambitions, the programme is now being rolled out in South Africa in partnership with the University of Johannesburg.

The work-based programme, through a distance learning model, will be delivered by GCU and the University of Johannesburg to over 150 Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) staff. Transnet participants will also become members of the UK Institution of Railway Operators, the organisation of choice for those seeking to develop their career within the rail sector.

Transnet Freight Rail is the largest division of Transnet, with approximately 25, 000 employees throughout the country. It is a world class heavy haul freight rail company that specialises in the transportation of freight.

Johannes Makhusha, Head of Transnet’s School of Rail, said at the programme launch in Johannesburg: “Transnet Freight Rail has a major responsibility to understand its own capacity to deliver the skills that are required, not just to move millions of volumes of freight but, to move millions of volumes of freight safely. To achieve this and our agenda of transformation we know that we need to build on our operational competencies and collaborate with local and international service providers to access learning solutions that are world class.  We expect our employees to go back and plough what they have learned and we think that this programme journey will change participants’ lives.”

New knowledge and the reflective practice encouraged by work based learning will support Transnet Freight Rail’s ambitions to grow volume freight business, increase productivity and efficiency, capital investment, financial sustainability and safety. The organisation has a long standing heritage of investing in staff development and capacity through education.

The Railway Operations Management programme launch comes at time of a commitment by the Transnet Group to invest R300bn over the next seven years in strategic rail and ports infrastructure to support South African economic growth. South African President Jacob Zuma recently highlighted Transnet’s expansion plans as evidence of the country’s significant investment in upgrading rail and port infrastructure.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has praised the development of the programme for including local content to make the programme the best fit for Transnet’s staff.

The Railway Operations Management programme framework was negotiated by GCU’s Fiona Stewart-Knight, of GCU's Applied Knowledge Exchange Strategic Business Development team.

Principal Pamela Gillies said: “Glasgow Caledonian University is an international university with strong access and international missions. This focused knowledge and capacity building programme is a wonderful illustration of that agenda and an opportunity for us to learn from our South African partners.”