A lack of well-trained machine technicians is a serious problem in much of Africa and has meant that equipment dealers operating in countries like Ethiopia are often forced to hire expatriate technicians, rather than invest in local workers who would remain in the country permanently. The few technicians who are local often have had inadequate training, as many technical schools in these countries use outmoded equipment – sometimes dating back to the 1970s or 1980s.

To tackle this, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) have partnered to support and modernize the Selam Technical and Vocational College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Launched in 2012, the project aims to prepare young people for future livelihoods and facilitate access to employment opportunities.

HDECOVA is the first state of the art vocational training for heavy machinery in Ethiopia. The academy is open to applicants irrespective of their background and trains 25-30 students a year. During the four-year course students access modern machinery and also do courses in English and Information Technology.