UAE: A memorandum of understanding to establish a Rail Academy has been signed by the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research & Training and Thales. The planned Rail Academy would provide Emiratis with high-level professional and academic training programmes to support the country's railway and urban transport projects.

The partnership is 'a key milestone for genuine local empowerment in the railway field', according to Thales country director Thibaut Trancart. The companies have worked together since 1999 when they set up the CERT Thales Institute to provide technical training in the defence sector.

'This co-operation will greatly help to develop a new generation of highly-skilled UAE nationals ready to serve the long-term development and strategic goals of the UAE and the Gulf region', said Dr Tayeb Kamali, Group Chief Executive of CERT Group. 'Our significant partnership with Thales enables CERT to extend its provision of world-class professional and academic programmes to future managers, technicians and engineers, while benefiting from Thales's unique experience'.