To increase job opportunities and improve the general level of education for service technicians in Zambia, the Volvo Group is initiating an apprenticeship training program in the African nation together with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The program will be run in collaboration with local authorities and a total of 140 students will be trained each year.
The need for practical vocational expertise is very high in Zambia, according to Volvo. The existing training does not meet the demands of the industry, which has resulted in companies sourcing labor from other countries. In Zambia, this pertains largely to workshop mechanics and service technicians for the key mining industry.
To increase job opportunities, the Volvo Group, together with Sida and UNIDO, has initiated apprenticeship training programs for 140 students starting in January 2015. A total of 420 students will be trained over a period of three and a half years and the objective is that at least 75 percent of the students will obtain work as service technicians or similar after completing the program, according to the automaker.
“Trained mechanics will have the opportunity to work in countries with high unemployment, while Volvo will gain access to the trained personnel that we need in order to expand in Africa,” said Malin Ripa, senior vice president, CSR Management. “By training local manpower, we will contribute to sustainable growth in the countries in which the Volvo Group operates.”
The training will be conducted at Northern Technical College in the city of Ndola. It has been adapted and planned to meet the needs of the industry and contains both practical and theoretical courses such as mechanics, service, and maintenance of vehicles. English will also be included in the program.
“Together with the Volvo Group and UNIDO, we want to create a vocational training program that corresponds to the demand for qualified vocational training programs existing in the mining industry. There is major demand for locally trained personnel,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, general director of Sida. “Through our partnership, we will be able to jointly generate jobs with proper conditions and an inclusive business concept. Today, the key to employment and development is education.”
Last year, the Volvo Group announced that it would establish apprenticeship training programs in ten African countries. Similar programs were recently started in Morocco and Ethiopia. The programs are prioritized areas in the Volvo Group’s long-term sustainability work, according to the automaker.