Scania redefines the ‘working abroad’ concept
Scania is a global truck and bus company with busy workshops all over the world, all adhering to one high global standard. Scania Australia, in conjunction with Scania Denmark, has been running a pilot of the company’s Global Technician Exchange Programme which allows technicians to learn more about the global business by working abroad at a Scania branch for a three-month period.
In 2023, the pilot exchange programme has brought Jacob Sørensen from Scania Denmark to Scania Campbellfield for three months, and Scania Australia aims to reciprocate the exchange with a technician from Australia.
As part of the programme, Scania Australia provides full support to technicians keen to work on trucks and buses overseas. Travel and accommodation are provided by Scania.
“We will make the necessary arrangements for a successful Australian applicant to work at Scania Denmark,” says Scania Australia People and Culture Director, Justin Newman.
“We think this is an excellent programme to provide Australian technicians an opportunity to meet other members of the Scania family, and for them to meet Australians,” he says.
Scania Denmark Technician Jacob Sørensen, 27, says his life has been focused on trucks from a young age, and when he left school, he went straight into a Scania technical apprenticeship.
His father was a truck mechanic at Scania for several decades and his grandfather owned a trucking company, so there is oil in his blood.
Once Jacob qualified, he stayed on at the Scania workshop he’d apprenticed at, moved out of town once, and then returned to Scania.
Now the fault diagnostic expert is in Australia for three months, based at the Campbellfield Branch.
“During my apprenticeship I heard about travelling overseas with Scania, and now it is a reality,” Jacob says.
“I wanted to improve my English skills, and the climate in Australia is the opposite to Denmark, plus I love the outdoors, hiking and camping, so in the two months I have been here I have already been all over Victoria, from the Grampians to Wilsons Prom. “I’m staying at a nice apartment in Epping, and although it’s only 5 km from work, it takes the same 30 minutes to get in due to the traffic as it takes me to travel 50 km to work in Denmark!” he says.
“I’m doing similar jobs in the workshop here as I would do in Denmark, but the trucks are so much older in Australia. And the buses, some of them are 25 years old,” he says astonished.
“I can see the roads are rougher, too, in the damage to the underside of the vehicles. “I have been paired with Joe Sweet, the workshop Team Leader and he’s been so helpful, and the whole team have been very supportive and friendly. They have already given me a nickname “Bjorn” which I guess means I have been accepted into the team,” he says with a grin.
“One of the most noticeable differences in Australia is the much more overt focus on safety in the workshop. We have high viz vests, safety glasses, and the medical room. Also there are a lot more younger guys and apprentices in the workshop than I am used to from Denmark, and they are doing a very broad range of jobs including engine and gearbox rebuilds. Our younger technicians in Denmark don’t do much of this mostly because our trucks get sold into Eastern Europe after about 6 years, before they need these sorts of repairs.
“On the work side, I have been doing a lot of diagnosis here similar to what I do in Denmark, which is good,” Jacob says.
“Back home, my workmates have been following my progress on social media and asking a lot of questions about life and work in Australia, and of course about kangaroos. Funnily enough in Denmark we call a bull bar a ‘kangaroo catcher’,” he laughs.
“For me the experience so far has been very good and I would encourage other technicians to give the exchange programme a go. You will learn a lot, and as it turns out, in the world of Scania we all speak the same language,” Jacob says.