Five Liberians who have completed intensive training and tests to serve as the newest batch of Arcelor Mittal Liberia locomotive operators received certificates of completion on Saturday, September 19 in Buchanan.
This batch of five-Jackson Tingban; Don T. Hayes; Harris D. Luke; Willie F. Horace, Jr.; and Lawrence S. Wilson ;will join the existing four Liberian drivers, who were certificated last year, bringing the total number of Liberian locomotive drivers trained by the company to nine.
The training program, which lasted eighteen months, included theoretical and practical training and tests. This batch of trainees first worked as shunt drivers before advancing to the next level of main line train drivers. According to Johan Bekker a manager in the rail department, ArcelorMittal Liberia’s training program is of world class standard for train crews.
The instructors are expatriates with years of rail experience in South Africa and the United Kingdom. All the graduates under this training are qualified to drive the GP38 and the AC4400 GE Locos anywhere in the world.
”This training is in line with Arcelor Mittal Liberia’s succession planning, which is intended to create more opportunities and build the capability of Liberian employees while preparing them for higher roles and responsibilities,” said CEO, Michel Prive.
Although Arcelor Mittal Liberia turned to expatriates when railing operations started, these expatriates were employed to move the locomotives and more importantly, train Liberians to eventually take over as locomotive operators. The succession plan went into motion by hiring Liberians in all gamut of the rail operations, from maintenance, dispatch to locomotive assistants. According to Bekker, in August 2012, almost one year after the launch of operations, the first testing began in search for the best qualified candidates for the locomotive operator succession plan.
On Saturday the ultimate aim of these training exercises was met to ensure that Arcelor Mittal Liberia has competent Liberian train drivers.