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05 Aug 2017

TDA signs with HRDF, ARA and NSAR UK for the National Rail Centre of Excellence in Malaysia


KUALA LUMPUR, 1 August 2017 - Malaysia’s Asian Rail Academy (ARA) is spearheading the rail training industry by being Asia’s first authorised training partner of UK’s National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR). ARA will also be the first training provider in Asia offering rail safety certification programmes from TÜV SÜD Germany. Scoring yet another first, the Asian Rail Academy (ARA) will be the pioneer training facility in Malaysia to use Virtual Reality to enhance the learning experience.

The Asian Rail Academy was launched today to address the increasing demand for human capital following the rapid growth of the rail industry in Malaysia. The Academy is set to play a key role in fulfilling the crucial need of a skilled workforce in the Malaysian rail industry and driving human capital development in the country.

Yang Berusaha Encik Amir Bin Oman, Deputy Secretary General (Policy) of the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia jointly participated in the launch of the Academy with H.E. Vicki Treadell CMG MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia together with Y.B. Dato' C.M.Vignaesvaran Jeyandran, Chief Executive of Human Resources Development Fund  and witnessed by the representatives of NTAR UK and the Asian Rail Academy.


“It is timely to see the training demands in the rail industry being met for not just Malaysia, but the fact that Malaysia will be the key hub for training in the rail industry for the region, with the Asian Rail Academy forging the future of rail training in Asia,” said Y.B. Dato' C.M.Vignaesvaran Jeyandran, Chief Executive of Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF)  reading from Y.B. Dato' Sri Richard Riot Anak Jaem 's speech.

“With the rapid growth in local rail industry, the Government of Malaysia is expected to spend about RM160 billion by 2030 to develop rail infrastructure and new lines. With training programmes in the rail industry established in Malaysia, we fulfil a key pillar in the 11th Malaysia Plan in enhancing human capital development, propelling our country for greater advancement into being a fully developed nation,” he added.

Treadell, who hosted the launch event at her Residence, said: “I am delighted that the Asian Rail Academy and the UK’s National Training Academy Rail have come together. This partnership will equip a new generation of Malaysians with the skills, technical knowledge and expertise to realise the opportunities of the fast expanding rail sector in Malaysia. Our Education is GREAT campaign is delivering results like this, which is proof of our modern economic partnership with Malaysia and one that delivers for a new age. The UK aims to provide delivery solutions towards Malaysia’s further economic transformation, and support Malaysia’s ambition to be a developed nation by 2020.”


The Asian Rail Academy is partnering industry leaders like the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) from the UK and TÜV SÜD from Germany to provide globally recognized industry-relevant certification programmes in traction, rolling stock and railway safety.

The launch event today showcased signing ceremonies between TDA and HRDF, and TDA and the Asian Rail Academy (ARA). YBhg Dato’ Zailani Safari, Chief Executive Officer, Technology Depository Agency Berhad (TDA) was present at the event.


Jennifer Walpole, Head of Business Development of the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) said: “We are truly excited to be working on such an innovative and transformational project with the Asian Rail Academy and to be able to have the opportunity to share some of the very best learning content and technology that NTAR has created over the last two years.  We are delighted to be part of a powerful, international collaboration with a like-minded organization who so evidently cares about high quality and innovative delivery - to provide skills for and inspire those joining the rail industry at a time of such extensive growth and investment.

“TDA will further facilitate the continued growth of rail industry infrastructures, undertake researches, plan and coordinate development aspects of rail-based transport in order to create an efficient, economical and safe rail-based transport ecosystem through ICP. The establishment of National Rail Centre of Excellence (NRCOE) is targeted to close the gap in human capital development which the current workforce in railway is about 16,700 whereas the requirement workforce for the year of 2017 - 2021 is 68,000 workers”, said YBhg Dato’ Zailani Safari, Chief Executive Officer, Technology Depository Agency Berhad (TDA).

At the launch event, Mr R A Thiagaraja, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Rail Academy said: “Apart from the Asian Rail Academy being NTAR’s first authorised training partner and the first training provider offering TÜV SÜD rail safety programmes in the Asian region, the  Academy will be the first training facility to use Oculus Rift virtual reality in Malaysia. We train fresh graduates who will be newcomers in the rail industry, including up-skilling the current workforce in the country.”

Training provided by the Asian Rail Academy will be two pronged – To reduce existing skills gaps by upskilling the existing workforce in order that they acquire industry-relevant skills; and to provide training for fresh graduates who will be newcomers into the rail industry, which increases their employability.

The Asian Rail Academy programmes are run using an interactive software channel that track learners’ progress. Unlike the typical traditional classroom learning, the training will use highly immersive Virtual Reality (VR) technology via the Oculus Rift headset, where trainees visualise and interact with rail components in a 3D-environment. The learning process has evolved to where trainees will be able to navigate into sealed and inaccessible components and interact with them.

Learning in a 3D environment, participants will be able to familiarise themselves with the detailed workings of a train, diagnose faults, maintain equipment and perfect their skills in a virtual learning environment that is safe and effective.


This gamification method of learning ensures that the first touch point of the industry does not feel like school for young and fresh talents, such as millennials, digital natives who would prefer to learn courses using cutting edge technology. Conversely, the existing workforce of the rail industry would become more proficient with digitalised trains and systems, therefore preparing them for the technological advancements in the rail industry. 


The adoption of innovation and technology to improve the way training is delivered is in line with the government’s plan to create a digital workforce who can stay relevant in a fast-evolving industry. It is also more costs effective and supports clients’ assessment of training needs.

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