The VDMA Initiative, “Skilled Workers for Africa” was set up to work on technology and skills transfer for high efficient technology towards industry 4.0.
And the simple fact is that emerging industries need technology with the highest efficiency before they can become globally competitive. This in turn will help upcoming development of extended value chains to grow.
In African countries we at VDMA discovered that there was a lack of skilled labour to operate, integrate, service, repair and maintain this highly complex and efficient technology. German technology is renowned worldwide for its quality and longevity and the companies behind the famously reliable technology remain the backbone of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Germany. This made the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), a German association of 3600 German and European mechanical and plant engineering companies the perfect organisation to partner with Dangote Group on this laudable initiative.
VDMA has so far formed collaborations with existing training centres in three countries on the African continent. In each case the curriculum was developed based on the particular needs of the country and existing industry was upgraded by introducing the latest German technology for their production processes.
In Nigeria the request made by the Dangote Group was for VDMA to produce a pipeline of technical experts to ensure sustainability after technical transfer. This way, the need to continually bring in foreign experts, with the attendant cost, will gradually reduce and eventually disappear because there will be enough technical experts locally for industries to recruit and to do the job. The training deployed is both comprehensive and thorough, producing technicians comparable in knowledge and expertise to those you would find in the developed world. With the VDMA training, students of the Dangote Academy, who are both male and female, are empowered to easily adapt to other machinery that they may have to work with in a wide variety of industries. This is in addition to preparing them for opportunities and giving them a chance of self actualisation. They are therefore given the opportunity to develop their talent, their skills and their ability to the full.
The VDMA programme offers the top graduates opportunity of employment in its vast network of German/European companies active in Nigeria, Germany and worldwide. Their level of expertise means they can work successfully in any country.
This Dangote/VDMA programme is designed to raise the level of technical expertise in Nigeria, to empower technicians who can hold their own with the best technicians anywhere in the world and to radically transform the reputation of TVET in Nigeria so it is seen as a good and viable option to academic education and a route to very good employment.
All the photos below are of the first graduates of the Dangote Academy. Initially called AIM Students (Advanced Industry Mechanics) but later changed to Industry Maintenance Technologists.
These 20 Graduates were chosen out of 12,000 applicants. They started in a batch of 120 students and underwent highest standard of training for 30 months ago.
After 18 months, 100 out of the 120 students graduated and got employment at various industries having attained a high standard of competency in Basic mechanics/electronics.
The best 20 out of the 120 underwent training for a further 12 months to become advanced Industry Mechanics and Industry Maintenance Technologists, comparable in expertise to their counterparts anywhere in the world.