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2024 | Book

Sustainable Rail Transport 5

Skills Development, Education and Leadership in the Railway Sector

Editors: Marin Marinov, Janene Kay Piip, Stefano Ricci

Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland

Book Series : Lecture Notes in Mobility


About this book

This book offers a timely collection of chapters on innovative research and education-focused developments in the vast field of rail transport, including rail operations, management, economics, and sustainable infrastructure. Adding on the tradition of the previous four volumes, here a special emphasis is given on the current needs for rail skills development, innovating rail higher education provision, and solutions aimed at bridging the gap between railway education and industry expectations. Strategies for making the rail sector more attractive to early careers and younger generations, and methods to identify and retain talents in the railway sector are also described. Gathering peer-reviewed contributions prepared by the RailUniNet and AstonRail strategic partnership members, this book offers a timely view on current developments on rail-focused teaching and learning methods and approaches with extensive information for both academics and professionals specialising in railway research, technologies, training and education.

Table of Contents

Existing Studies and Information Sources on Rail High Education and Skills Development
This paper provides with a panorama of the review conducted on existing studies and structured information from various sources related to rail education and skills development. The purpose of this review was to gather insights from previous EU projects, research papers, web portals, and reports to better understand the current landscape and teaching approaches in rail higher education. To give a comprehensible visualization, preferably in a website format, a simple but tangible concept has been developed, facilitating a smooth connection between the concrete real-world application and more abstract fields of developments within the scope of study.
Arbra Bardhi, Francesco Martini, Stefano Ricci, Carlos Casanueva Perez
Rail Sector Expectation and Requirements for Higher Education and Students’ Expectations from Rail Companies in Slovakia and Czech Republic
The rail sector needs employees equipped with new skills, competences and advanced knowledge of new technologies. Higher education institutions specializing in rail-related subjects must respond appropriately to these needs. The paper deals with the expectations and requirements of railway companies in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which are a partial result of research carried out within the international project Erasmus + KA203 ASTONRail. The paper describes the expectations and requirements of the railway companies involved for the knowledge and skills of graduates based on both a questionnaire survey and a job survey. These requirements are divided into three levels of management: strategic, tactical and operational. In addition to the companies’ requirements for students, the satisfaction level of the railway companies with regards to the knowledge and skills of the graduates was also investigated. Using the Focus Group method, students’ expectations from their future employers in the railway transport sector were determined, which were then confronted with employers’ requirements for graduates.
Anna Dolinayova, Eva Nedeliakova
Current Gaps and Mismatches Between Rail Higher Education Provision and Industry Expectations
The expectations of railway companies are not always aligned with the skills and abilities that university graduates bring when finishing their studies. This work firstly analyses the higher education study paths related to railways and their flexibility; then surveys the expectations of a set of European railway stakeholders in order to get the most looked after skills and abilities; next it analyses sectors other than the railways looking for academic best practices; and in the end it matches the most sought after skills within the Rail Careers Matrix for determining the relative importance of these skills in the operational, tactical, and strategic levels. The final result is a visual representation of the skills gaps and mismatches that European railway companies need to cover in the context of the actual Higher Education in the European landscape.
Carlos Casanueva Perez, Christian Matz, Borna Abramović, Denis Šipuš, David Calonge, Kristina Svensson
A Reflection on Higher Education and Rethinking Teaching Practices and Approaches for Rail
This contribution offers a reflection on higher education and encourages innovation in the current rail-focused teaching practices and learning approaches. A study of present teaching methods, programme delivery, and student performance assessments was carried out in seven European universities. The collected data were provided by senior lecturers and teaching fellows. As a result, improvements in ‘Classroom Assessment Techniques,’ course-related, and teacher-related student feedback practices were identified. New policies and practices for innovating rail skills development in academia that could be audited, shared, and improved in order to strengthen both the delivery of rail higher education provision and the development of rail skills in various universities across Europe were suggested and verified.
Marin Marinov, Reem Hadeed, Constant Iannacci, Prachiti Shinde
Young People’s Reflections on the Railway Sector: A European Perspective
The aim of the Erasmus+ funded project ASTONRail (Advanced approaches and practices for rail training and education TO inNovate Rail study programmes and improve rail higher education provision) is to generate awareness and encourage young people, particularly those facing career path decisions, to consider the rail industry as an interesting and fascinating alternative to develop their working career. One of the project tasks is to create impactful initiatives, promotional events, and outreach activities to attract and inspire a greater number of aspiring railway talents and young professionals. To this end, focus groups have been used in this paper to explore the perceptions young people hold about this sector and the employment opportunities it can offer. Thus, by resorting to discussion groups, it has been possible to identify key aspects of the young generation’s perception and demands on public transport in general and on the rail mode of transport in particular. As a result, it was found that the way young individuals perceive the railway sector is influenced by their personal experiences and preferences, environment and cultural context. Furthermore, the analysis of the findings indicates that environmental concerns hold considerable importance for the younger generations. In addition, the main expectations of future talents regarding the railway industry have been detected, with the aim of improving its attractiveness to them. In this regard, it became evident that a satisfactory salary alone is not sufficient. Equally vital are factors like a positive work atmosphere, ongoing training opportunities, and a healthy balance between personal and professional life.
Isabel Ruiz-Mora, Sergio Postigo-Pozo, Juan J. Castillo-Aguilar, Pablo-Javier Salas, Marin Marinov
ASTONRail Handbook—Supporting Tool for Attracting Students and Young Professionals to the Railway Sector and Modernizing Rail Higher Education
The rail sector is facing a shortage of skilled workers and needs more professionals who are able to respond to the sector’s future needs. This work presents the ASTONRail handbook developed in the ERASMUS+ funded project ASTONRail. The ASTONRail handbook should function as a supporting tool for the modernization of rail higher education and as a result recruitment of  more students into rail-related study courses. The work describes the implementation and functions of the handbook and what it offers for its user groups to support the modernization of rail higher education and the recruitment of more young professionals to the rail sector.
Anne-Katrin Osdoba, Martin Lehnert
Deployment of Autonomous Trains in Rail Transportation: Addressing the Needs for Higher Education and Leadership
Nowadays, there are fully Autonomous Trains (ATs) that have been deployed for passenger and freight transportation. Automation is viewed as an effective alternative for addressing the issues surrounding rail transportation, including safety issues, increasing demand, human errors, excessive waiting time of passengers, and passenger comfort. ATs allow decreasing the total operational costs due to reduced train crew size and optimized operations. Furthermore, reliability of automated rail services is much higher when comparing to conventional rail services, as ATs can effectively respond to potential disruptions during the train journey. Nevertheless, there exist a number of challenges associated with the AT deployment, which include design challenges, operational challenges, technology-related challenges, and human aspect-related challenges. User perception may slow down the AT development and deployment, as many people still have doubts regarding the AT performance during emergency scenarios. Furthermore, the employment issues due to layoffs of train drivers and other employees after the AT deployment are considered as a significant barrier as well. Effective higher education and leadership programs are anticipated to overcome some of the challenges in the AT development and deployment. This study performs a comprehensive review of the existing initiatives for higher education and leadership that have been organized by different countries over the past years, aiming to determine whether sufficient efforts were dedicated towards the AT deployment. The outcomes from this research are expected to identify the key areas where more efforts should be concentrated to ensure successful AT development and deployment via efficient educational and leadership programs.
Prashant Singh, Bokang Li, Zeinab Elmi, Yui-yip Lau, Qiong Chen, Marta Borowska-Stefańska, Szymon Wiśniewski, Maxim A. Dulebenets
Navigating Skills Gaps: Career Pathways for Migrant Engineers in Australia’s Expanding Rail Sector
A shortage of engineers for rail projects in Australia has been exacerbated recently by COVID-19 and other factors such as not enough graduates to fill vacancies and competition from other industries. Australia has successful immigration programs that allow skilled migrants to develop their career as an engineer in a new country. However, this untapped pool of talent is not being fully utilised and could assist with engineering workforce shortages.
Janene Piip
Innovation, Communication, and Talent Attraction
Why is the mobility sector not considered an attractive career option for students? Is it about technology and innovation, or are there more factors to contemplate? In recent years companies in the mobility sector have explored the challenges of attracting and retaining talent, trying to understand the career drivers for diverse cohorts. According to the IEA Future of Rail Report 2019, Global Rail Transportation Market Report 2022–2026, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050; passenger movement is predicted to multiply by three by 2050; higher cargo volumes are predicted to increase by two within the next 30 years. It's important to consider the rail sector's contribution to a sustainable future, with approximately 75% of conventional passenger rail operations powered by electricity. Additionally, the rail sector accounts for about 2% of the total energy demand in transportation, while its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions make up roughly 0.3% of the overall 37% of CO2 emissions in the transport sector. Furthermore, electric rail plays a significant role, accounting for approximately 50% of all freight rail operations. So, the challenge of attracting and retaining talent to the sector is here, and action is needed.
Begoña Tiscar Vega
Talent Management in the European Rail Sector: Myths, Errors and Modest Advices
Talent management has been an overrated concept in human resources management. The rail sector has difficult demographic and brand challenges to address but talent management is not the miraculous recipe which is being sold. The paper aims to put the concept in perspective under human resources management common practices within the sector and advance recommendations to foster organizational effectiveness.
Miguel Faro Viana
Sustainable Rail Transport 5
Marin Marinov
Janene Kay Piip
Stefano Ricci
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