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Traxtion, Africa’s largest private rail freight company, is committed to lead the way in providing training in scarce skills to progress the local rail industry.

Upskilling the next generation of rail professionals is vital to Traxtion’s values and investments into the future of rail in South Africa. The company has recently welcomed four more apprentices – selected from 1700 applicants – to their bespoke training programme.

The apprentices will receive training at Traxtion’s Training Centre based at the Rail Services Hub in Rosslyn over the next three years.

Lionel Ritson, Technical Training Manager at Traxtion, says the training focuses on producing competent artisans to maintain Traxtion’s fleet of locomotives, and those of third parties, in order to ensure consistent high standards of quality.

“Our training centre is recognised for providing high quality, technical skills to those in the rail industry. We provide the trainees with a combination of practical experience and theoretical knowledge which ensures that they are fully competent and qualified.”

Ritson says the current intake comes at a time when Traxtion is finalising the certification of the next crop of artisans that will be graduating this year. The graduates have developed not only electrical, mechanical, hand and electronic skills, but also interpersonal skills required for the working world

At least 75% of the trainees will be employed by Traxtion after the three-year apprenticeship programme, Ritson says the selection criteria used to select the trainees included technical knowledge and personality fit, as well as an academic qualification of Grade 12 with mathematics, science, and technical drawing or N3 mechanical or electrical engineering.

Traxtion’s training centre is run by a highly experienced team of registered assessors, moderators, and accredited training instructors. The trade test officers are fully accredited by the National Moderating Body, Ritson says.

Ritson says Traxtion’s skills development and trade test centre offers fully accredited, specialised training in both technical and operational disciplines.These are skills that are in short supply in South Africa, he says. Ritson says the next phase of rail in South Africa, and Africa, demands a continuous need to upskill the next generation of rail professionals. “As the company grows so will our workforce.  Traxtion will continue to invest in skills development that will see the industry thrive. Additionally, our Trade Test Centre does assessments and moderation for other companies,” he says.