The Swedish Academy for Training is a vocational skills training centre established by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in partnership with, Scania, The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), international education company Education First (EF), and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA).
The project to deliver the Swedish Academy for Training (SAT) was initiated in June 2011 with the SAT opening its door to the first students on 17th April 2012. Detailed information about the project is available within the “About” section of this website.
The project is leading the way for UNIDO and Sida in this field of Public Private Development Partnerships; coordinating a wide and varied group of stakeholders. Chakib Jenane, Chief of UNIDO’s Agro-Industries Technology Unit, reaffirms that UNIDO is proud of the project and stresses its dependence on mutually significant inputs from UNIDO’s various partners. The project have paved the way for similar projects and the establishment of the Learning and Knowledge Development Facility [link www.lkdfacility.com], a project designed to further develop and foster this approach.
Unemployment continues to be a serious issue for Iraqis, especially among youth, who represent around 78 percent of the population. The war in Iraq severely disrupted the local infrastructure, including numerous higher education and vocational training individuals to develop their vocational and professional skills which, in turn, has led to a significant lack of heavy equipment mechanical maintenance personnel, sorely needed by modern industries. This situation is not only negatively affecting individuals and their and the families; it is also putting a constraint on the ability to service the industrial sector – stalling reconstruction and the recovery of the economy as a whole.
UNIDO and Scania, a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks, buses and engines, have been strategic partners since May 2011. Together with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Education First (EF) and the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), the partners established The Swedish Academy for Training, which was officially opened in April 2012.
The academy targets unemployed Iraqis under the age of 30, offering them a chance to develop relevant skills and to find professional employment. Simultaneously, the training facility aims to bolster Iraq’s wider economic development, by addressing the serious shortage of skilled labour required by modern enterprises operating and expanding in the country today. The Swedish Academy for Training uses advanced and specialized training equipment. It is the only training facility of its kind in Iraq. Courses are offered not only in maintaining and operating heavy machinery, such as modern fleets of trucks, engines and agricultural equipment, but also in English language and computer literacy. Later in 2012, the programme will be extended to include after-sales support and business management. Although typically a male domain, the academy aims to achieve a 30% female participation. Women are actively encouraged to attend the technical and managerial trainings, so that they are also well prepared for opportunities in the work place. The academy aims to train at least 300 students a year. Training is delivered so that skills are transferable to various platforms. After graduation the academy will actively connect students with local companies in the region. This includes Scania, which has a national dealership and maintenance centre in Erbil.
Leveraging its local network and implementation capacity, UNIDO oversees the project management, ensuring the smooth delivery and operation of the training facility. UNIDO also supervises day- to-day operations of the academy, in coordination with Ministry staff, to enhance the sustainability of the programme following the project’s completion. Drawing on its extensive industry know-how and expertise, Scania is engaged in the joint development of the curriculum and training tools. The company also provides financial and in-kind contributions, including certified teachers and be- spoke equipment for the training of service technicians.
The Benefits of Partnering
By engaging in joint activities, Scania and UNIDO are helping to en- sure that a lack of skills does not limit or hamper industrial investment; and are enabling Iraqi people, including women, to be better placed to take full advantage of the region’s developing industries.
Through the partnership, UNIDO is able to leverage Scania’s cutting edge industry knowledge and technology to enhance the effective- ness of the programme. The holistic approach to the establishment of the training facility promotes a symbiosis between industry and education, strengthening the sustainability of the programme. The technical input of Scania in the development of the curriculum helps ensure that the training provided by the Swedish Academy for Training remains marketable, and is focused on the needs of industry.
By investing in local training Scania is helping to develop the local value chain and strengthen economic development through better service provision of local enterprises. The academy will also serve as a base for recruitment of employees needed for the continued expansion of Scania’s service and sales units in Iraq.