DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN CAPITAL AT D&M RAIL CONSTRUCTION
It is realized that a critical skills shortage exists in the Railway Construction Industry in Namibia and projects of this nature provide an ideal opportunity to address this problem. D&M Rail Construction has embarked on training and development programs which will continue and be expanded. Our training and development programs are not just aimed to build capacity for our own needs, but also to empower people and build capacity for the Railway Industry in general in Namibia.
2. Training Programs for Permanent Way Construction and Maintenance
D&M Rail Construction has established a full time in-house training section to train Namibians in Permanent Way construction and maintenance including Permanent Way welding.
Since the first group of candidates to be trained as Platelayers and Trackmen were identified in 2013, fourteen have qualified and are currently included in the supervisor’s pool. Among this group are the first ever two female employees who are now trained in Permanent way construction and maintenance. The 2017 intake of 7 trainees have done most of their theoretical lectures as well as being exposed to the practical side of rail construction. They have completed their formal training during the first half of 2018 and were then deployed at construction teams where they were evaluated on the practical skills of their training. These trainees were all appointed as assistant platelayers early in 2019.
The training department identified 12 candidates from Secondary schools in the Otjozondjupa Region in January 2019 to start with the next group to be trained as platelayers. This group consisting of 4 female and 8 male students are currently guided through the course by their trainer, Mr Edwardt Kambongarera.
The duties of these newly trained Namibians include the supervision and control over railway maintenance teams performing scheduled repairs and maintenance to railway tracks. They will also be responsible for the construction of railway tracks and turnouts, the replacement of broken rails, as well as repair of slacks and misalignment in railway lines.
During 2013 and 2014, our in-house training division trained 31 female employees in Railway Safety Regulations as Protection Officers to safeguard teams working on or near the railway lines.
3. External Training Programs
D&M Rail Construction has over the past few years invested substantial amounts in external training programs and 94 male and 37 female employees were trained in the following fields: First aid, basic firefighting, junior management, finance, human resource management, safety representatives and exceptional leadership management.
Bursaries for academic education have been awarded to six employees of which some have completed their studies while other are in various stages of completion in the Civil Engineering, Finance and Safety Management fields.
3. Job Attachments
Job Attachments provide opportunities to Namibians still in training as well as newly qualified to get real life exposure to Railways.
Job attachments were provided to Engineering students from the Polytech of Namibia and the Ongwediva Engineering Campus of Unam.
Two Civil Engineering students, who have been engaged with D&M Rail under job attachments, have been employed on a full time basis after completing their studies.
D&M Rail Construction accepts job attachments from NIMT from the Diesel Mechanics discipline annually and three students have been appointed as Mechanic with the company after completion of their Trade Tests.
4. Career Development
D&M Rail Construction as a relatively young entity believes in the development of its human capital and maximizing opportunities for all its employees. It is realized that the Railway sector in Namibia needs to develop previously disadvantaged Namibians at all levels and we are committed to this objective. Various employees were promoted to skilled and management level from semi-skilled and supervisory level respectively over the past 5 years of existence.
Job attachments in the mechanical and electrical vehicle maintenance fields are being hosted by D&M to gain practical experience in their fields of study.
Transfer of skills from an experienced railway construction site agent Dries Golden to Wilbard Nashima, a young qualified civil Engineer which D&M has assisted during his studies at UNAM and since appointed as site Engineer at Otjiwarongo.
Management Training and exposure to new ideas and methods related to the work environment ensures a motivated group and are given tools in day to day activities to manage assets.
First group of railway maintenance students who passed their exams, including the first ever female students in this field in Namibia. This group will be appointed as either platelayers or trackmen to ensure qualified technicians to maintain the Country’s infrastructure for the future.
Training of our staff ensures a well-motivated team and personal growth and career development is a high priority for D&M. We invest millions annually in the training and well being of our staff and this will ensure capacity for our future.