Amid state efforts to develop the automobile industry as a foundation of the national economy, Daily News Egypt tackles the technical education issue, which can contribute greatly to the development of the car industry in the coming years and could be benefiting from the experience of other countries, such as Morocco and South Africa, which managed to boost their economies through the automotive assembly industry.
Daily News Egypt contacted some experts and leaders of the automotive sector who asserted that the country lacks real technical education to serve the automotive sector.
Raafat Masrouga, the honorary chairperson of the Automotive Marketing Information Council (AMIC), said that the Egyptian auto market lacks efficient technical schools which could create a highly skilled generation for the automotive sector, similar to other sectors, such as textiles.
Masrouga added that the shortage of technical schools came as a result of the lack of real automotive manufacturing in Egypt, along with the high cost of establishing special technical schools, as they require expensive, sophisticated machines, which add a burden on the Ministry of Education’s budget.
He noted that the state should focus on the automotive assembly industry rather than the manufacturing of auto components, which is difficult for the Egyptian market in light of the current economic conditions.
He further stressed the importance of attracting international companies specialised in automotive assembly to benefit the local market as well as export companies.
Masrouga added that Egypt has a promising market, especially in light of the new national projects, including the Suez Canal Development Zone.
He also stressed the importance of establishing advanced technical schools to provide automotive assembly experts and send education missions outside Egypt, so as to benefit from foreign expertise through joint cooperation with international companies.
Amr Al-Iskandarani, CEO of Auto Z Company, said that the automotive assembly companies operating in Egypt mainly depend on foreign expertise to train workers in the assembly factories.
He added that the Egyptian education system lacks real technical departments, noting that the existing technical schools do not provide efficient technical engineers.
Al-Iskandarani pointed out that the automotive sector alone can lead the recovery of the Egyptian economy and achieve self-sufficiency in the long run—on the condition that the country provides real technical education based on foreign expertise to achieve the Egyptian dream of creating a powerful national automotive industry.
Ahmed Al Gioshy, Deputy Minister of Education and Technical Education, said that Egypt has 149 industrial high schools, which have special automotive departments.
He added that these schools do not provide automotive industry training to their students, because Egypt has no real automotive industry. Therefore, the technical schools provide only auto maintenance and assembly training in cooperation with some major auto agents in the local market.
According to Al Gioshy, the ministry currently depends on international grants and training centres in private factories.
He revealed that Ghabbour Auto requested to establish nine technical schools accredited by the Ministry of Education within the company’s centres, for the development of students’ potentials and the creation of technical and professional manpower.
The ministry is considering Ghabbour’s request, although Ghabbour has neither denied nor confirmed that they submitted the request.
He noted that the car maintenance training centre in Shubra was established due to the cooperation between Egypt and South Korea. The South Korean government provided a grant worth $1.5m to establish a specialised training centre for auto maintenance careers, along with a EGP 2.5m contribution from the Egyptian government.
The car maintenance centre—in collaboration with the Korea International Cooperation Agency—is sponsoring vocational training to prepare technically skilled labourers trained on the latest equipment. The training is to be done by a group of engineers and trainers who have been prepared to carry out the training and educational process at the centre.
The centre works with scientific and theoretical programmes, taught by a group of South Koreans and their counterparts working in the agency.
According to the admission requirements annually announced by the agency, the centre accepts students with a general preparatory-school degree for the three-year apprenticeship training of one of the professions in the centre. They will be trained in the basic knowledge of the profession and the associated skills.
In the third year, the trainees join one of the industrial companies to hone the skills acquired from the centre through applied training in companies. At the end of the third year, and after passing the scientific and theoretical tests, the trainee obtains the apprenticeship diploma, which is equivalent to an industrial high school degree.
The centre provides the opportunity of implementing a training programme for those who obtained the general secondary-education diploma, an industrial high school diploma, or an apprenticeship degree in order to prepare them for working as highly skilled technicians in the field of car maintenance.
The centre includes specialties such as disassembling, examination, testing gasoline and diesel engines, repairing transmission systems, adjusting the brakes and speed of the car, testing and adjusting the geometric angles of the wheels, and adjusting the static and dynamic tire balance, as well as the electrical and electronics systems of the car.
The centre also includes a section for car body repairs, adjusting the chassis of cars, and welding. It is also equipped with the means to conduct the training process in the field of mechanics and car electricity, including educational models for operating systems. It also accommodates roughly 300 trainees distributed over three classes. The auto maintenance, auto repair, and car painting departments each accept 100 trainees.
Meanwhile, Morocco managed to provide 160,000 job opportunities between 2014 and 2016 through the development of its automotive industry, only 75,000 of which were industrial jobs during the past ten years. Morocco topped the Arab countries in the field of auto industry.
Naima Badawi, chairperson of the Business Women Association in Morocco, said that Morocco managed to develop the automotive industry to serve the economy and reduce its unemployment.
She explained that Morocco is working on increasing the number of the manufactured cars to 800,000 cars by 2020, as Morocco is focusing on vocational training. The Kingdom of Morocco succeeded in establishing skilled labour through technical schools or factories that take part in the training process.
She added that Morocco is focused on providing the appropriate environment for the automotive industry—labour and suitable sites— which has encouraged major companies to inject their investments in the Kingdom of Morocco.
The Renault Group has entered into an agreement with the Moroccan government to inject investments estimated at more than $1bn to establish eco-friendly car factories and will base the manufacture of these cars on local components by 65%, instead of 32 %.
Isao Sekiguchi, the CEO of Nissan Egypt, said during the automotive annual summit—organised by Business News—that Egypt must develop the auto industry rapidly and benefit from the experience of Morocco, which is characterised by its developed technical education. He emphasised that there are a lot of tasks that must be taken on by Egypt, such as education and training, in order to become a competitor in the automotive industry.