Developing skills

The Volvo Group conducts a variety of professional training programs in emerging and established ­markets worldwide that facilitate employment opportunities within the local community and secure the long-term development of our business.

In many countries, the transport and construction industry faces a shortage of people with the right skills and competencies. The Volvo Group’s professional training for technicians, drivers, operators and factory workers increases people’s experience and equips them with the rights skills for roles in these sectors.

Training schools in Africa

The Volvo Group is planning to invest a total SEK 30 M to introduce vocational training schools in 10 African countries, in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

This follows on from the successful pilot we conducted during the year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, working with the Selam Technical and Vocational College in a unique partnership with Sida and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). We provided the college with equipment, training materials, hands-on teacher training and ongoing curriculum development as well as apprenticeship opportunities for 65 students.

Vocational training schools in Africa will develop job skills and enhance the employability of students to become technicians and operate trucks, buses and construction equipment.

In November, the Volvo Group signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with USAID and Sida with the aim to open vocational training schools in 10 African countries over a five-year period beginning 2014. The schools will train students to become technicians and to operate trucks, buses and construction equipment, developing job skills and enhancing the employability of those enrolled.

The program is one of the new ways that development agencies are actively partnering with the private sector to produce sustainable development solutions. By working together in public-private partnerships we can generate more resources for sustainable development and contribute to reducing poverty. Training local labor to sell, drive and service Volvo Group products contributes to sustainable growth in Africa by generating decent jobs and giving people the ability to support themselves in the long term. It also helps us to broaden our market reach and to build up the network of dealers and mechanics that is required for future sales of our products in these countries.

The Volvo Group has an ambition to grow revenue in Africa by 25 percent between 2013 and 2015. The schools will be set up in countries that are both business-critical for the Volvo Group and eligible for development grants from both Sida and USAID. The partnership also includes traffic safety and health awareness initiatives.

World Food Program

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) works to combat hunger by guaranteeing access to food in the poorest parts of the world. Reliable trucks are vital to the WFP’s logistics and Renault Trucks is a key partner for carrying supplies in extreme conditions.

World Food Program (WFP) was supported by Renault Trucks ­volunteer technicians who spent 5 months training WFP drivers on advanced maintenance techniques in order to keep supplies moving.

Renault Trucks initiated a five-month volunteer program to train WFP mechanics in six East African countries, concluding March 2013. We provided a mobile training unit and a team of expert technicians to give WFP mechanics onsite training in the most advanced maintenance techniques.

The team of nine employee volunteers carried out weeklong training events in Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In total, 40 mechanics have been trained and, equipped with their new skills, they will be able to greatly contribute to the ongoing success of WFP missions.

The Volvo Step

The Volvo Step is a one-year, paid vocational training program in industrial production created specifically for unemployed young people aged 18 to 22. The Volvo Step takes place at 13 sites across Sweden and provides both theoretical and practical learning experience.

Representing an overall investment of SEK 450 M, The Volvo Step is a three-year project that began in 2012. Each year, 400 young people are given professional training and experience. Successful participants receive a certificate showing they are sufficiently qualified to work in industrial production.

The Volvo Step one-year, paid vocational training program in industrial production for 18–22 year olds had 52% of its 2013 places filled by female participants.

The first cohort of Volvo Step participants graduated in October 2013. Around 50 were offered jobs within the Volvo Group, with a further 75 approximately receiving jobs in the Group via manpower agencies. The program does not guarantee employment with the Volvo Group, but it does improve young people’s chances in the labor market overall.

The Volvo Step also places great emphasis on diversity, in terms of gender, social and educational background, academic capabilities and interests. In the program’s second round, starting November 2013, 52 percent of participants are female. This is particularly encouraging for our industry, which traditionally struggles to attract women.

The School Step

It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract young people into engineering careers in Sweden. In response to this major recruitment challenge, the Volvo Group has announced plans for a new pilot program to build on the success of The Volvo Step.

Starting in 2014, The School Step aims to increase interest in technology, mathematics and the natural sciences. The program will offer high schools across Gothenburg, Sweden, the opportunity to host visits by highly-talented, young and enthusiastic Volvo Group technicians and engineers for two semesters over the course of a school year.

Our people will describe the profession and the projects they are currently working on, and highlight ways of solving problems. They will interact with the teacher to support a real-life learning approach to theoretical studies. In this way, the Volvo Group aims to build long-term relationships between itself and the city’s high schools and achieve closer links between school and professional life.