From 20 May to 1 June 2013, Moroccan National Railways’ (ONCF) Training Centre hosted a training session on railway safety for African rail network staff in cooperation with UIC.
This initiative forms part of the roll-out of the 2013 UIC action plan for the African Region chaired by Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Chief Executive of ONCF, and stems from the new “Africa Rail 2025” medium-term strategy to leverage specific actions in support of African rail networks as they improve and develop. The strategy, which falls under “Human Capital Training” is specifically focused on and comprises a range of actions relating to safety, which constitutes one of rail transport’s core assets, and indeed is key to its competitiveness and long-term viability in supporting the sustainable mobility of goods and people.
To successfully host this first edition – which required over six months of preparation – and to achieve the expected goals, a whole series of organisational, technical and educational measures was implemented. In terms of figures, 16 senior staff members from Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Tunisia took part in the extensive and varied programme alongside their Moroccan counterparts. The programme covered over 20 talks supported by case studies led by Moroccan experts, three weekly conferences (every Friday) on a specific theme given by UIC experts, as well as three targeted technical visits to sites undergoing development both in the south and in the centre of Morocco.
As such, the “customer satisfaction” survey conducted on the basis of interviews and questionnaires on various aspects of the training demonstrated an encouragingly high level of satisfaction amongst participants. The roughly 90% satisfaction rate reflects the quality of logistical arrangements and resources used (welcome, educational materials, premises, involvement of ONCF management, etc.), the overall contents of the programme and its relevance to the established targets (comprehensiveness, focus on new areas, integrating field visits with lessons, planning, etc.), and the level of trainers’ knowledge and sharing of experience and good practice (skills and expertise, availability, attentiveness, etc.)…
Other avenues of work have been identified to link this kind of added-value initiative into a programme of continuous improvement over the long-term. To name a few, this involves forming closer ties between African rail networks to identify their future needs and expectations, developing communication around this subject area and seeking the financial resources necessary to extend the length of this training.
At the end of this first edition, a concluding, evaluation and certificate award ceremony was held in the company of UIC and ONCF senior management, following which everyone agreed on the importance of starting preparations for the 2014 edition as of now, with the aim of expanding it to other specific areas in the rail sector.