Training of technicians in Ethiopia

The Volvo Group is confronting a shortage of construction equipment and truck technicians in Sub-Saharan Africa in a joint project with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The project helps support and modernize technical schools in Ethiopia.

The Group takes a hands-on approach with a project at Selam Technical and Vocational College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, providing new equipment, training material, teacher training, ongoing curriculum development and apprenticeship opportunities for students.

Lack of well-trained technicians is a serious problem in much of Africa.

Lack of well-trained technicians is a serious problem in much of Africa. As a result, dealers operating in countries like Ethiopia are often compelled to hire expatriate technicians rather than invest in local workers who would remain in the country permanently – and keep more money in the local economy. The few local technicians who are available often have inadequate training, as many technical schools in these countries use outmoded equipment – sometimes dating back to the 1970s or 1980s.

The local technicians often have inadequate training, as many technical schools in these countries use outmoded equipment – sometimes dating back to the 1970s or 1980s.

Developing a technical program benefits original equipment manufacturers like the Volvo Group by providing a larger pool of skilled workers. Though students and apprentices will not be under any obligation to work for the Volvo Group, the project will provide the Group with a very powerful way of building relationships with potential employees.

While the Volvo Group facilitates teacher training and supplies equipment, the school handles administration, re-cruitment of teachers and the selection of students. UNIDO oversees the project.

The project, which will train about 30 students a year, started in February 2013. If the new program works well, the company will consider expanding into other African countries in the future.