Dr Joshua Olorunkiya is the Project Manager, CORBON/N-Power Initiative which recently concluded the training of one hundred Master Trainers in Abuja, in the ongoing Train The Trainers Skills Acquisition Programme for Construction Artisans in Nigeria. Olorunkiya, who is the CEO of Esthoj Multi-Disciplinary Group, discusses the significance of the training. ‘Apart from creating huge number of jobs, the initiative will improve the quality of services provided by artisans.’
He spoke with Francis Kadiri in Abuja.
What is the inspiration behind ‘Train The Trainers Skills Acquisition Programme for Construction Artisans in Nigeria?’
Currently, the Nigerian construction industry does not have enough skilled workforce. This is happening at a time when there is large scale unemployment in the country. As a result of this, the current administration decided to strengthen the sector by putting in place strategies that will create skilled workforce which will lead to creation of jobs in the construction industry.
It is pertinent to note that in any economy, the construction industry is very remarkable for its ability to create large number of jobs. In view of this, the current administration devised the ‘Train The Trainers Skills Acquisition Programme for Construction Artisans in Nigeria.’
This includes training artisans in six different trades in the industry namely masonry otherwise known as bricklaying, iron bending and fabrication, painting and decoration, electrical installation services, plumbing services and tiling.
The government has already procured tools to be given to the artisans at the end of the training, with which they can earn their livelihood.
Only trainees that successfully complete the programme will be certified by the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, CORBON. When this is done, incidences of quackery will surely be reduced.
At the moment, a larger number of skilled artisans in the country are migrants from neighboring countries like Togo. Their services are preferred because they are trained and because people want value for their money. Therefore foreigner-artisans are making a lot of money while Nigerian artisans cannot compete favorably because they are not skilled. So this programme will train the first 16,800 Nigerian artisans and it will support them to start making a living from the trade.
The National Social Insurance Office (NSIO) of the presidency should be commended for the effort it is making to solve the problem of unemployment. The present training programme is one of such efforts.
In order to fully realise the set goal of jobs creation and quality service provision in the industry, certified professional builders are being engaged as resource fellows through institutional stakeholders namely the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) and the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB).
Builders are the only certified professionals who are trained to translate designs to reality while architects are engaged to produce perfect designs. Engineers have the professional role of providing engineering services while quantity surveyors are responsible for project costing.
How many Master Trainers are being trained now?
Between 15th and 17th January 2018, we trained 40 Master Trainers who will be sent to the 36 states of the federation to train 700 trainers at the state level. The 700 trainers would be mandated to train 16,800 artisans in the Local Governments in the interest of jobs creation and quality service provision in the industry. Already there are about 200 training hubs all over the country.
What is the duration of the programme and when will the training of artisans begin?
The entire training programme is scheduled to run from January to December 2018. The training of master trainers is for three days and it has come to a successful end.
How committed are the states to the project?
To the best of my knowledge, huge amount of money has been committed to the project by the federal government.
How are the beneficiaries selected at the states and what strategies are in place to ensure transparency?
The training hubs were selected after evaluation. Most of them are government technical schools. The artisans were selected through open invitation extended to the public. Under N-Power, some Nigerians registered online signifying the trade for which they desire to be trained. Everything was done online. Those who believe in the programme took advantage of it, and I’m sure they will reap the benefits.
Training involves effective communication. Unfortunately some artisans are illiterates. What strategies are in place to ensure effective dissemination of knowledge?
A training manual titled ‘Basic Art of Knowledge’ has been designed to solve the problem. The manual is designed in such a way that an illiterate artisan will understand it because symbols are also part of the language of communication. So the manual is designed with images that will convey the intended message to the learner. This includes practical demonstrations, classroom sessions which teaches attitudinal behavior and client relationship, work ethics and simple business management among others.
For artisans, the first three months of the training consist of classroom sessions after which they will move to the field for practical lessons in their respective trades. It is based on their proficiency that they will be assessed and certified.
Only those who complete the programme will be certified and given the tools.
In Australia and Newzealand where I had been, nobody can practice as an artisan unless he or she is certified as having successfully completed training in that service. In Nigeria, CORBON is responsible for licensing such trained artisans and it is a good development for our country.
So Nigerian artisans will soon have upper hand over migrant artisans?
Yes, but it is unwise to deny migrant-artisans the jobs until Nigeria trains enough citizen-artisans needed to take the jobs from the migrants. If we take the jobs without equipping our workforce with requisite skills and tools, we will be stranded. I must say that under the N-Power programme of this administration, government has demonstrated the political will to create jobs for the citizen artisan. It is a major step in a journey of a thousand miles and I repeat that it is praiseworthy.
How many jobs will be created at the end of the training programme?
The country has just come out of economic recession. Government is embarking on massive infrastructural development which is an engine of growth. To do this, people are needed to execute some physical activities on construction sites. With our ability to train Nigerians between now and December 2018, we are preparing the youth for an ever increasing number of jobs creation in Nigeria.