The sixth meeting of the European Network of Rail Training Centres (ENTC) took place in Austria on 20 and 21 May 2010 at ÖBB.
The key objective of the network, which brings together major European training providers from both commercial and non-commercial training centres, is to contribute to the liberalisation of the European rail training market by enabling active professional dialogue to take place between rail training professionals to support interoperability.
The meeting was attended by 24 participants from 12 countries representing some 16 training providers. For the first time, the network had the pleasure to welcome the manager of the Asian Network of Rail Training Centres (ANTC/Iratca), representatives from TCDD training centres, as well as the UIC representative for Central Asian Countries. Delegates from Kazakhstan, Morocco and Algeria had expressed their interest in the activity but were not able to attend.
Having a global representation of the group was very important, particularly when discussing the organisation of the first UIC World Congress on Rail Training. The congress is scheduled to be held from 6 - 8 April 2011 in Brussels, hosted by SNCB. The congress will tackle topical subjects such as skills fade and competence retention, adult learning and training methodologies, the role and development of trainers and training as an investment, and will include technical visits. The representative of ERA (European Railway Agency) Olaf Mette welcomed the initiative with enthusiasm and will explore how ERA can support the event. ERA is currently writing recommendations for the recognition and accreditation of training centres and examiners and Mr Mette delivered a presentation on the current status of the guidance material.
The meeting also served as an occasion for the German university of Würzburg, who has been commissioned by the network to undertake a benchmarking study on European Rail Training, to present their first set of results. The work is focused on three safety critical job positions: drivers, signallers/traffic controllers and signal/interlocking technicians and the researchers shared their initial results with the attendees.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for the audience to become acquainted with HRD and training activities across the ÖBB Group, with particular focus on ÖBB production training, (train drivers) and ÖBB infrastructure training (signallers). The different presentations enabled many exchanges to take place between the ÖBB staff and the network on training issues and methodologies. It also included looking at how the use of simulators can support training.
The last item on the agenda was dedicated to a roundtable discussion on the latest developments with railway companies with regard to the current issues facing training centres in the areas of resourcing and policies.
The network’s next meeting is scheduled for 21 and 22 October 2010 - venue to be confirmed.