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04 March 2024

GCC jobs: 80,000 railway staff needed in 5 years for rail project

By VM Sathish

About 80,000 railway staff will be needed within five years in the GCC for 36 railway projects that are currently ongoing, under construction or in the planning stage in the region.
International Railway Academy in Saudi Arabia will provide state-of-the-art training platform to several thousand professionals and technical staff who will be joining an expanding rail network in the region, according to an official from the Academy.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, an official from the International Academy for Railway and Advanced Developments, Saudi Company for Railway Services, said it will provide specialised training for school graduates and professionals in the proposed academy, which will be first-of-its-kind in the region.
“There are 36 major railway projects and Metro railway projects including those that are progressing or under planning stage in the Middle East, with Al Etihad Railway network planned to link all the GCC nations, “ said the official, who added that the Academy is negotiating with the Etihad Railway to provide training facility for the potential Emirati staff.
Similarly, the academy will be providing special training packages to Saudi students, who pass out of schools and colleges, for potential placement in the expanding railway network in the GCC.
The official said Saudi Arabia and the UAE will share major chunk of the GCC railway network. In the UAE, Etihad railway will cover 1200km, several railway stations and offices.
 Etihad Railway is already recruiting staff through its official website.
“Dubai Metro employs nearly 300 employees and some of the GCC railway projects are going to be smaller than Dubai Metro. We expect that about 80,000 railway staff will be required in the region for the next five years,” the official said.
Technicians and experts will be needed for maintaining and supervising the signaling systems.
The Railway Academy, planned along the Riyadh-Dammam railway network, is specially designed as a landmark building with two floors and each of the 14 classrooms will accommodate 15 students each, said Maher Al Refael, Academy’s Project Manager.
In addition to learning in classrooms, trainees will have access to in-house practical training in the four workshops that the academy is developing.
These four workshops will be dedicated to real-life training on railway signaling, heavy track maintenance machines, hand held track maintenance equipment and a simulator center for train driving.
The academy will have two levels of training for high school students and specialized training for professionals.  A student who completes the course of one-and-a-half years will be able to do basic maintenance work on railway tracks. High school students who undergo a two-and-a-half years course will be able to perform fault finding on tracks.
Courses offered will range from short-term to diplomas of 2.5 years; training certification programme of 1.5 years; training courses for six months; as well as special courses designed according to the client requirements.
The Academy is also planning to deliver virtual training programmes.