Alstom (Thailand) Ltd, the local unit of a leading French energy-solutions and rail-transport company, is conducting a feasibility study on establishing a plant in Thailand to manufacture electric-train parts. It expects to reach a conclusion on the proposal within a year.
The plan is aimed at enhancing the company's competitiveness in Asean's second-largest economy. It was disclosed after Alstom (Thailand) signed a memorandum of cooperation with Kasetsart University on development of engineering undergraduates.
Didier Farez, president for Alstom (Thailand), said the company was active in Thailand's rail transport and electricity generation.
Besides the feasibility study on the factory proposal, it has been in discussions with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and local alliances.
Farez noted that Alstom was French's first developer of high-speed trains, and said the company emphasised safety.
Alstom has been involved in the MRTA's Blue Line extension. It is seeking the opportunity to participate in the Purple and Green Line extension projects as well.
Farez said Thailand was expected to develop a high-speed rail system, which will entail more electric-train projects and more electricity plants. This could raise demand for engineers, who are now in short supply in the Kingdom.
Jerome de Grandmaison, vice president of human resources for Asia at Alstom, said the region's economic expansion had prompted some countries to seek ways of developing their transport systems, electricity generation and human-resource competency.
Thailand is the first Asean country where Alstom has decided to co-develop engineers.
Alstom will transfer its technical knowledge and experience Thai engineering undergraduates in the fields of electrical power, electrical grids and transport. Engineering undergraduates will take part in the Alstom Graduate Programme with two-year internships across the world.
Alstom will also join research and development projects of Kasetsart University's engineering faculty as a way to develop smart-grid technology.
Wuttichai Kapinkan, president for Kasetsart University, said its engineering faculty would introduce a railway-engineering curriculum at the undergraduate level next year with expected enrolment of 40 students per year.
The university has urged the government to set a clear policy on the rail-transport system so that educational institutions could plan to develop engineers for it, he said, adding that sufficient budget should be provided to support human-resource development in this field.
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