Bombardier Transportation looks set to enter into a five-year agreement with a Thailand university to strengthen the South East Asian country’s future rail employees, creating a production line of skilled rail staff and loosening its dependency on overseas contractors.
In a move that could bring about a wealth of home-grown talent, Bombardier signed last week a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the engineering department of Bangkok’s Mahidol University that the company says will “ensure the development of technical expertise and innovation in the industry”.
The latest news is likely to be music to the ears of those with a vested interest in the £4bn Thailand-China rail project that was given government approval in July 2017 and which began construction in December of the same year. The 540-mile network, which will begin in Bangkok and link south China via neighbouring Laos, will be built in six phases. The first isn’t due for completion until 2021.
Commenting on the Bombardier-Mahido University agreement, a managing director for the company in Thailand, Gregory Enjalbert, said the five-year plan was a continuation of an involvement in Thailand that has spanned two decades. “Bombardier remains fully committed to developing local talent in Thailand. Over our 20-year presence in Bangkok, we have grown our team to over 500 employees and we place a high emphasis on deepening our academic partnerships to ensure the development of technical expertise and innovation in the industry,” said Enjalbert.
The university has recently established a set of rail and logistics engineering post-graduate programmes, a particular discipline that would represent Bombardier’s the first partnership of its kind with the country. The agreement will cover areas including academic programmes and teaching, joint research in the areas of rail control and signalling and the possibility of internships and practical training programmes. In widening its influence across the country, Bombardier is also developing undergraduate rail engineering education with Kasetsart University and Navamindradhiraj University's Urban Community College of Bangkok.
Bombardier is already working on rail projects in Thailand, including Bangkok's yet-to-be-completed driverless Monorail lines and rail control for the capital’s growing Skytrain and the Mass Rapid Transit Chalong Ratchadham, Purple line. Bombardier has also equipped two sections of the State Railway of Thailand network, adding in 2017 a test centre to support projects across the region.
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