The operator of Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger train dubbed Madaraka Express is on course to fulfill its target of skills transfer to local employees, an official said on Monday.
Olivia Mengich, deputy manager of corporate affairs at Africa Star Railway Operations Company, said that transferring knowledge and technical skills to local employees, is key to enhance the smooth operation of both the SGR passenger and cargo trains.
“For Madaraka Express and by extension Kenya Railways, having a process to transfer skills from seasoned Chinese employees to Kenyans will help the operator implement succession planning and provide ongoing training to prepare the workforce to adapt to change brought by new technologies,” Mengich said in a commentary published by People Daily Newspaper.
The modern train service, which has been hailed as a changer in the transportation of passengers and bulk cargo, has stimulated commerce along its corridor and created jobs for local youth.
Mengich said that skill transfer has been a key feature of Madaraka Express as it embarks on the localization of its core operations.
“To remain competitive and deliver quality service, Africa Star Railway Operations Company (Afristar), which operates Madaraka Express has designed various training programs aimed at developing standardized competencies for various cadres of staff,” said Mengich.
She acknowledged that railway operations and maintenance are knowledge-intensive hence the need to prioritize skills transfer to local staff.
Mengich said the SGR operator has been conducting practical and theoretical training exercises on a monthly basis to hone skills of its local employees.
“Kenyans have been gaining skills to enable them to operate and maintain rolling stock, locomotive, dispatch, track, communication and signing systems, freight and passenger services,” said Mengich.
She said that over 200 Kenyans have joined senior managerial positions thanks to successful skills transfer facilitated by the SGR operator.