“This helps to create jobs and promote economic growth in these countries, while also benefiting our business and that of our customers,” says Johan Reiman, who is responsible for vocational training within the group.
The Volvo Group has run vocational training courses for mechanics in Africa since 2013. The first school was opened in Ethiopia and several groups of students have now completed the course there. Last year, a school was opened in Zambia and also one in Morocco.
The training is based on cooperation with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the American equivalent USAID and the UN Industrial Development Organisation.
The Volvo Group provides engines, equipment and training for the instructors. The courses are run in collaboration with the authorities in the countries and take place in existing training colleges.
“In these countries, there is a major shortage of trained mechanics with the skills that our industry needs, while at the same time unemployment is very high,” says Johan Reiman and adds that the trained mechanics do not automatically end up in the Volvo Group’s workshops.
“We don’t earmark any of the students, but by training local people we promote growth in the countries where we have a presence and where we want our business to grow,” he says.
"Some of the students are young women, increasing the number of females is something that we are aiming for says Johan Reiman.
“It is important for us to encourage more women to become mechanics and give them an opportunity to get onto the labour market. We are working hard on this together with our partners. For example, in Zambia we have established a successful cooperation with the World Bank and its Gender Innovation Lab,” he explains.
The plan is to launch similar training programmes in several countries in the region.
Johan Reiman, together with a working group consisting of representatives from different parts of the Volvo Group, is currently involved in opening a new school to train truck drivers in Ethiopia.
“There is a serious lack of competent drivers and I hope that we can start training programmes for drivers elsewhere in future,” he says.
“Cooperation within the Volvo Group is a decisive factor in enabling us to deliver on our commitments to the schools. I am very pleased about the level of engagement and interest in our schools within the Group and also outside it,” he explains.
Previously, Johan Reiman was the regional manager of the spare parts division of Volvo Penta in Africa and he understands the region and the challenges it faces. He frequently visits the various schools and meets the staff and students.
“I have a really inspiring job and I am pleased that I can contribute to social development in these countries. Skilled mechanics are in short supply all over the world and we are also interested in starting training programmes in countries outside Africa,” he says.
You can find out more about the Volvo Group’s work on the training programmes in Africa in the most recent Annual and Sustainability Report at: http://www.volvogroup.com/en-en/about-us.html.