To increase job opportunities and improve the general level of education for service technicians, the Volvo Group is initiating an apprenticeship training program in Zambia together with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

The programme will be run in collaboration with local authorities and 140 students will be trained every year.

The automaker said in a statement: “The need for practical vocational expertise is very high in Zambia. The existing training does not meet the demand from the industry, which has resulted in companies sourcing labour from other countries. In Zambia, this pertains largely to workshop mechanics and service technicians for the key mining industry.

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% of the students will obtain work as service technicians or similar after completing the programme.

“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,”says 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 programme.

Last year, the Volvo Group announced it would establish apprenticeship training programmes in 10 African countries. Similar programmes were started recently in Morocco and Ethiopia.