UK Trade Commissioner praises GCU Transnet partnership

19 September 2013

Students and lecturers from the BSc Railway Operations Management course

Students and lecturers from the BSc Railway Operations Management course

GCU’s collaboration with South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail has been showcased at the South Africa UK Bilateral Forum as an “excellent example of partnership” between the nations.

UK Trade Commissioner Andrew Henderson highlighted the project as an example of how the UK and South Africa are working together to develop skills.

The University is working with Transnet Freight Rail, South Africa’s biggest freight rail company, to deliver Africa’s first railways management degree to its staff.

At a forum plenary session chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Mr Henderson said: “I am delighted to draw the Ministers’ attention to the recent agreement between Transnet and GCU and to highlight this excellent example of co-operation and partnership between the UK and South Africa. This flagship talent management programme will result in significant capacity building and address critical needs in the South African rail industry.”

Fiona Stewart-Knight, GCU’s Director of Business Academies, said: “For GCU’s partnership with Transnet to be featured to Ministers in the 2013 UK-South Africa Bilateral Trade talks is a wonderful endorsement of GCU’s entrepreneurial approach to university-to-business education and testimony to viable opportunity in BRICS markets (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). This is a strong measure of our impact.”

A total of 220 Transnet staff will be recruited annually to the two-year BSc Railway Operations Management, Higher Education Certificate and Higher Education Diploma as part of a flagship talent management programme.

Transnet Freight Rail selected GCU following a global search for a partner to help the company combat a nation-wide skills shortage in the field. The programme was designed by GCU’s Scottish Centre for Work Based Learning in partnership with the Institution of Railway Operators and is being rolled out in South Africa in partnership with the University of Johannesburg.