With its “Skilled Workers for Africa” initiative, the VDMA is working intensively to promote on-site vocational training and the expansion of local value creation. Africa’s markets are increasingly coming into the focus of mechanical and plant engineering companies from Germany and Europe. Although the industry’s export quota to Africa is still well below 5 percent, the VDMA is noticing a growing interest among its members in local opportunities.
“Many German companies that have been successful in Africa have flanked their market entry with investments in vocational training,” explains Dr. Norbert Völker, who is responsible for the “Skilled Workers for Africa” initiative at the VDMA.
Part of this initiative are modern vocational training centers in Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria, where skilled workers are trained. This will help to make local production internationally competitive through the use of modern machinery and equipment. Business and society alike will benefit from this unique qualification program. Companies can also help shape local structures, build a network with key market players and help train the urgently needed skilled personnel.
Companies support vocational training in Africa
Since 2016, VDMA has been working with African partners to establish vocational training centers in Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria. A total of more than 12 million euros is being invested in this – part of which is being contributed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
“Ultimately, the support of our member companies brings the decisive momentum to our initiative,” explains Dr. Völker.
This support ranges from providing the latest measurement technology and modern machinery and equipment to expert trainers and offering internships and trainee exchanges.
“The mechanical and plant engineering sector from Germany and Europe shows how cooperation works and provides on-site support with concrete offers,” analyzes the VDMA expert.
Qualified personnel as a driver of growth and prosperity
Qualified personnel are also urgently sought by African industry. With their training that meets international standards, graduates of the VDMA training centers have excellent opportunities on the local labor market.
“These well-trained people are essential for the development of their countries, which have set themselves high goals in terms of diversification and sustainability of their economies,” explains Dr. Völker.
In addition, the vocational qualification enables the young people to participate in society and has good personal development opportunities. In recent months, more than one thousand people have attended technical training courses as part of “Skilled Workers for Africa” and a good one hundred trainees have obtained their vocational qualifications as industrial mechanics and mechatronics engineers. The best of them are preparing for an internship in German companies.
“In this way, the VDMA is already making a concrete contribution to creating a common and forward-looking understanding between the continents so that tomorrow’s supply chains function sustainably and efficiently,” sums up Dr. Völker.