Enhancing the Transport Industry Through Training
Trucking forms an integral part of the African economy and the development of the continent’s infrastructure, business and, ultimately, its people. Africa’s developing economy drives the demand for competitively priced and efficient transport services
It is estimated that 86 percent of the freight transported in South Africa annually goes by road.
Trucking is a diversified business activity playing a key role in many economic sectors from agriculture, mining, quarrying, manufacturing, construction, distribution and forestry, to household removals, container cartage, bulk fuel transport and rural bread delivery.
One must keep in mind that in Africa trucks travel long distances, often on poorly maintained roads, to get the job done.
Although trucking is one of the most dynamic and rewarding industries in which to be involved, it also brings many challenges. Safety and effective maintenance of trucks have become highly contentious issues, and have in a way tarnished the image of the industry.
For this reason, as a manufacturer, UD Trucks focuses a lot of attention and resources on training and improving the skills levels within the industry. The company believes that fleet owners should empower their employees to make knowledgeable decisions about the way they operate their trucks on our roads.
The UD Trucks Competency Development Centre was established specifically to provide staff, dealers and fleet owners with world-class development opportunities through various technical and non-technical training courses. One of the key focus areas is driver training.
Since the inception of the programme in 2002, UD Trucks has trained around 120 drivers per year, meaning that the company has added around 2 000 skilled and qualified drivers to the industry.
The Competency Development Centre provides training to all UD fleet owners. Training is also available at any one of the brand’s more than 50 dealers situated across southern and eastern Africa, through various train-the-trainer programmes.
UD Trucks’s Extra Mile Challenge is another annual event where fleet drivers are evaluated through various challenges to be named UD’s most efficient and productive driver. The winner then goes on to participate in the global finals in Japan.
As truck drivers play such a vital role in the success of any fleet company and in the country’s economy, UD sees it as vital to recognise and celebrate these valuable skills in this manner.
Another way to ensure the vitality of the industry is to empower people through learning and skills-training opportunities. For example, UD trucks are assembled at our plant in Rosslyn, Gauteng, where employees are constantly trained to ensure the highest levels of safety and quality.
UD’s objective is to provide ongoing developmental opportunities that allow the company to achieve its business objectives, and also contribute to the overall development and empowerment of staff, dealers and customers’ businesses.
We all need to do our part to support, teach and develop our staff to ensure the vitality and quality of the industry in the region. As a company, it is a privilege to be able to provide these opportunities to our staff and our community.
Gert Swanepoel joined UD Trucks, then known as Nissan Diesel, in 1989 as a development engineer before moving to the aftermarket department. He was appointed the regional sales manager in 1995 and was promoted to national sales manager in 2000. He continued his passion for the brand as general manager: sales from 2004, and was subsequently appointed sales director of UD Trucks on September 1, 2015. He was appointed as MD of UD Trucks Southern Africa in February 2017.