KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project will train and employ 3,600 students armed with railway technology skill sets, a move that is set to raise the employability of youths especially from Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.
Training these graduates and workers skilled in rail technology is timely given the massive infrastructure projects being undertaken in the country, Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak, the Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) said.
He said that the projects include the the Light Rail Transit (LRT), Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and High Speed Rail (HSR) link between Malaysia and Singapore into which they can be absorbed.
"Railway technology is developing rapidly in Malaysia," he said in response to questions raised during the one-on-one 'Special Interview' business programme aired recently over BNC's CH502.
MRL is the project owner for the RM55 billion ECRL project which will span 688 km when completed in 2024 while connecting Kelantan to Port Klang.
Darwis said it was crucial for Malaysians to be able to manage and operate ECRL after its construction.
He also said Malaysia would have more rail workers to cater to what is surely a burgeoning industry through the ECRL Industrial Skills Training Programme as the government focuses on rail infrastructure.
The training program, PLKI-ECRL, is a result of the collaboration between MRL, turnkey contractor China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP).
According to Darwis, focusing on the areas of design and construction of railways, will arm locals with the necessary skill sets to work on rail projects.
UMP was identified by the Ministry of Higher Education as the focal university to coordinate the training, he said.
The syllabus for the training [program was formulated by Beijing Jiaotong University and Southwest Jiaotong University, two prominent universities from China which also serve as CCCC's railway technology training partner.
Darwis said that through the PLKI, UMP was one step closer to develop rail engineering in the future.
The ECRL is expected to generate more than 80,000 jobs for Malaysians during its construction period and another 6,000 during the rail's operation.
Training, therefore, is an integral part in supporting the mammoth project.
The programme will train up to 3,600 students from 2017 to 2022 and sponsored by CCCC at a cost of RM23 million.
Darwis said that all the graduates trained would be absorbed by either MRL, CCCC or its subcontractors.
Some 49 have graduated as professionals and another 138 as at the end of last month as skilled workers.
By year-end, the programme would have trained 750 workers or 25 per cent of its projected target.