The TrainRail hackathon dissemination webinar, specifically targeted toward universities and corporate training centres, took place online on 8 April with more than 80 participants representing 28 countries from across the globe.
The first global UIC hackathon is an initiative from TrainRail, the board set up within the framework of the TALENT project, to increase interaction between academia and the railway industry. This hackathon is part of a series of measures targeting young talent from universities, rail enthusiasts from railway undertakings, and startups.
The concept for the first UIC TrainRail hackathon is the result of multiregional collaboration between universities, railway undertakings and corporate training centres.
The objectives of the hackathon, which focuses on the question “How can railways be resilient in the face of pandemics?”, are as follows:
- Raise awareness among younger generations of the correlation between the rail transport development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Improve their understanding of the spirit of innovation
- Develop their skills by working with people from diverse backgrounds, thus preparing them to become world leaders and thinkers contributing to a sustainable world
- Strengthen cultural exchange between different countries, laying the foundations for the future development of international relations
- Support the challenges of railway companies and education and training establishments through creativity
- Promote startups
- Mobilise the best internal and external talent
- Turn ideas into reality
The hackathon offers participants and rail enthusiasts the opportunity to imagine the future and develop solutions for railway operators to help them face pandemic situations. Such solutions can be applied in various areas of activity of these companies. The hackathon will cover various themes and activities, such as training, customer service onboard trains and in stations, maintenance workshops, management of suspicious cases, communications and information, etc.
The hackathon focuses not only on participants’ engineering and computing abilities, but embraces all fields – hence the importance of having team members with different backgrounds and skills. The output from the hackathon will not be limited to digital solutions.
A further objective of the project is to improve the capacity of universities or training institutions to offer training and practice in hackathons. Information was provided during the dissemination webinar on the “Train the trainers” online workshops, which will be held in September and October 2021. The first workshop, “How to hold a hackathon”, will take place on 23 September. The second “Train the Trainers” workshop will be held on 21 October.
Following the global “Train the Trainers” workshops, each region will be able to organise its own contest. Cooperation has increased over the past number of months, and the following regional coordinators and regions are now on board:
- Asia-Pacific: SWJTU (Southwest Jiaotong University), China
- Asia and Europe: RUT (Russian University of Transport), Russian Federation
- Africa: ONCF and IFF, Morocco
- Middle East: TCCD and MERTCe (UIC Middle East Region Training Centre), Turkey
- Europe: University of Malaga in partnership with the AstonRail project (including several universities and Eurnex, the European Rail Research Network of Excellence)
- Latin America: Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of the Southeast of Minas Gerais (IF Sudeste MG), Brazil
Each regional coordinator was present at the dissemination workshop to deliver information on the event in their respective regions. Regional “competitions” will be held in autumn 2021 (Europe, Russia, China) and in early 2022 (Morocco), with a final international contest on 18-20 May 2022 as part of the World Congress on Rail Training, Talent and Development (WCRT) (https://wcrt.uic.org). A specific programme will be designed for the pre-selected regional teams on 17 May.
During the webinar, Miguel Faro Viana, Director at IP and recently appointed Chair of the UIC Talent & Expertise Development Platform, briefly summed up the ongoing activities, noting that talent management is one of the topics on the agenda for the World Congress on Rail Training, Talent & Development.
If you would like to showcase your practices in this area, as well as other topical HR and training issues, please submit an abstract by October 2021. You can also position your company amongst the top railway companies supporting talent attraction and retention and become a partner of WCRT 2022. Choose the “Talent Management” option at https://wcrt.uic.org/partnerships-and-sponsorships
The webinar also included a presentation by Evgeny Zarechkin of RUT on the general objectives of TrainRail, and Xing Ling and her colleagues from SWJTU presented the hackathon. The session ended with a highly interactive Q/A session.