A transport academy to offer modern training on the operations and maintenance of commercial heavy-duty vehicles and buses has been established in Tema to boost the transportation sector in the country.
The establishment of the West African Transport Academy is a collaboration between Ghana and Scania, a major Swedish manufacturer of commercial vehicles and parts, with specialisation in trucks and buses.
The collaboration forms part of a three-year agreement between Ghana and Scania, starting from 2017 to boost technical training in Ghana.
As part of the project, 600 bus drivers at the National Driver Academy, which is part of a Government Technical Training Centre (GTTC), will be trained.
The academy will offer specialised courses for commercial drivers, heavy-duty vehicle operators and mechanics servicing and repairing buses and trucks.
The GTTC will be the government’s agency for the implementation of the project.
An agreement to that effect was signed between Ghana and Scania in Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
The project is being implemented under a Development Public-Private Partnership (DPPP) agreement and is expected to benefit the West-African sub-region as well. Besides Scania, the project is supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which works on behalf of the German government and the vehicle component manufacturer, Bosch.
The Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said the transport sector was changing rapidly with emerging technology and underscored the need for commercial drivers and mechanics to acquire additional skill to cope with the situation.
He, therefore, applauded the initiative and expressed the government’s gratitude to Scania and the other stakeholders for the initiative.
Mr Asiamah claimed that most accidents involved heavy-duty commercial vehicles and buses.
“The rising road traffic crashes in the country have been attributed to human errors and mechanical failures which has claimed about 2,204 live,” he added.
For his part, the Managing Director of Scania West Africa, Mr Fredrik Morsing, mentioned computerised troubleshooting and diagnostic programmes in the transport operating sector as some of the skills that could be acquired at the academy.
He said currently, training at GTTC would focus on passenger cars since the academy lacked the necessary equipment for training on modern vehicles, trucks and buses.
“For us, this is a great investment. While we hope to recruit new workers among the students, we can also help raise the level of education for all prospective technicians interested in this area, which benefits them, us and the industry in general,” Mr Morsing said.
The acting Principal of the GTTC, Mr Constant Yao Tsedzah, was optimistic that the apprentices would acquire the necessary training to enhance their skills.
The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, said Germany had been a major development partner of Ghana since independence and that his country had contributed more than 1.5 billion Euros to Ghana’s development over the years.
He said Germany was ready to share its experiences with Ghana and was committed to supporting the development of vocational and technical training in Ghana.