Partners for the long haul
Within the context of the partnership between Renault Trucks and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), a number of Renault Trucks staff members volunteer to go to Africa to lead training workshops. We interviewed Nenad Grkovic, the logistics manager for the WFP fleet.
After an initial experience in 2012 and 2013, why did you decide to extend the partnership until 2017?
Nenad Grkovic – In 2011, the WFP asked Renault Trucks to help us set up instructional programs at our African bases in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In all the countries where we operate, trucks provide the final link in the logistics chain that allows us to reach vulnerable and isolated populations. Weather conditions are invariably extreme, roads are in a very poor state of repair and vehicles have to meet challenging demands. The staff we recruit locally does not always have the experience needed to maintain and repair them. Renault Trucks agreed to set up a corporate patronage instructional system based on voluntary participation throughout Europe.
The pilot scheme, which ran in 2012 and 2013, was devoted to HGV mechanical maintenance with the aim of raising all the mechanics to the same level of competence. On board a Renault Kerax 6x6, equipped with a mobile classroom, the Renault Trucks instructors made their way across 5 countries to pass on the latest repair and maintenance techniques. Inside the vehicle, a repair workshop, as well as a Renault Trucks vehicle engine, made it possible to clearly indicate all the parts involved and carry out demonstrations. This new partnership, starting in 2015, will be designed to train fleet managers and workshop controllers. Altogether, 150 people will benefit from this programme between now and 2017, via 11 training sessions in seven countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad and Uganda.
Why did you choose Renault Trucks to help you?
N. G. – Our fleet of trucks, 785 of which belong to the World Food Programme, include vehicles for challenging terrains that Renault Trucks are very familiar with. We were looking for a partner with solid experience in mechanics, capable of providing “turnkey” training programmes and ready to go out into the field to train local personnel. Renault Trucks
immediately gave us access to its training centres in France and Ghana, setting up a programme adapted to meet our staff’s needs. The volunteer employees, who trained our teams, showed a great deal of flexibility and adaptability, despite the invariably difficult travel conditions. Furthermore, it is important to remember that the countries we operate in are
politically and economically unstable. At the end of this three-year period, we are planning to train local instructors who will be able to continue the work that Renault Trucks has been able to begin.
What benefits has this partnership brought?
N. G. – Feedback from the field has been very positive. Apart from the purely mechanical aspects, those taking part discover the challenges of eco-driving and want to continue making progress. They feel that we believe in them, and that we are investing in the future. The certificate they receive at the end of the training highlights their skills and can subsequently help them find a new job if the WFP leaves their country at the end of its humanitarian mission, or if they wish to work in another country where the WFP is operating.
As far as Renault Trucks is concerned, the volunteer staff members who work in teams of two are proud of applying their skills to a humanitarian cause. The discussions between European Training teams and our staff members are highly enriching, since everyone learns from each other. The instructors do their very best to ensure that their apprentices genuinely benefit from their training. Thanks to its presence and technical expertise in Africa, Renault Trucks does everything to keep our vehicles on the road and therefore ensure that the World Food Programme’s operations can continue smoothly.