Rail manufacturer Alstom and engineering company AtkinsRéalis have formed a partnership with a Canadian university to develop a training programme designed to improve expertise in sustainable technologies. 

The programme at Polytechnique Montréal in Québec will include a specialised training course covering mobility and decarbonisation issues for engineers in the railway and public transit sectors. 

Stéphanie Vaillancourt, President for Canada at AtkinsRéalis, said: “The training project will provide students with valuable hands-on experience from railway sector experts and pave the way for a more qualified and skilled workforce in the transportation sector. 

“This is even more critical given the challenges we face today. Multi-sectoral collaboration will be required to achieve our societal goals, and that includes industry involvement in shaping students.” 

The partnership came soon after a report by the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec found that 52,000 new engineers would be needed in the region over the next decade, an increase of 40%. 

In particular, the electrical engineering sector is expected to struggle to keep up with demand from the energy transition, while Alstom also predicted that chemical engineers are likely to see increasing demand as the industry moves towards hydrogen fuels and lithium-ion batteries. 

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Michael Keroullé, President for Alstom Americas, highlighted the more than 700 engineers employed by the company in Canada and said: “As mass transit and passenger rail projects accelerate across North America, it’s important to ensure a succession ready to meet the complexities of a rapidly transforming market.” 

As part of the partnership, the programme will also feature rail industry conferences and direct support from the industry for student projects, while also encouraging the hiring of interns and graduates from the university. 

Alstom’s involvement in the new training programme builds on its existing innovation centre for green rail mobility solutions, which it established at its headquarters in St-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec in 2022 to develop sustainable propulsion solutions.