High hopes as Tinubu inaugurates Sector Skills Council for Building in Nigeria


  • As Bldr. Samson Opaluwah heads Skills Council
Senior Special Assistant to the President who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mrs Abiola Arogundade (2nd from Left); President, Sector Skills Council for Building in Nigeria (SSCBIN), Bldr. Samson Opaluwah (1st Left); Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof Idris Bugaje (Middle); Registrar, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Bldr. Adetunji Adeniran and the Desk Officer – Construction, NBTE, Engr. Bashir Datti Amin, during the inauguration of the Sector Skills Council for Building In Nigeria, in Abuja, on Thursday.

The Federal Government on Thursday, inaugurated the Sector Skills Council for Building in Nigeria (SSCBIN).

The Council, which has Bldr. Dr. Samson Ameh Opaluwah as President, is made up of stakeholders from the building sector, and has mandate to lead the way for the actualization of skills development as a critical focus of governance and the national economy while also providing solutions to the challenges of the sector.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who inaugurated the Council through his Senior Special Assistant on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education, Abiola Arogundade, charged the Council to deploy the expertise and wealth of the varied experience of its members, for the realization of government’s set goal of raising the population of highly skilled Nigerians from the current 15% to 50% while also training five million artisans every year.

The president stated: “I charge the Sector Skills Council inaugurated today, to work conscientiously to device, review and upgrade the standards to conform to the best standards expected in the global industry.”

According to the president, “the inauguration of the Sector Skills Council for Building is another building block put in place by the administration to actualize the framework for skills development in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the administration.”

The President said “the composition of this Skills Council is tilt toward the private sector, with twelve of its members, or sixty percent of its membership drawn from the private sector,” adding that the Council must identify the relevant skills, define the standards of competence needed and also provide guidance that will lead to the realization of the set goal of skills development in the country.

Discussing the consideration that led to putting in place a private sector-led Skills Council for Building, President Tinubu explained that having a private sector led skills council would position the council to provide solutions to the skill needs of the industry.

The president noted with delight, the contribution made to the provision of the National Occupational Standards for Skills in the building and construction industry, and commended the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) for spearheading the milestone. He said such standards which cover pottery, paining, electrical installation, plumbing and tiling among other competencies have been used severally to train, re-train and upscale tens of thousands of youths in Nigeria.

In his address, President, Sector Skills Council for Building in Nigeria, Bldr. Dr. Samson Ameh Opaluwa said the event “marks a significant milestone in our journey towards enhancing the skills and competencies of workforce in the building sector in Nigeria.”

Opaluwah, who is the Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) noted that the construction industry is a vital sector of the Nigerian economy, contributing about 12% to the nominal GDP in Q1, 2023, employing the second highest number of Nigerians (after the Agricultural sector), adding that its growth is a leading indicator for infrastructure development.

Discussing the challenges of the industry, Opaluwah, who is Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) said: “The sector faces numerous challenges, including a shortage of skilled labour arising partly from the aging of practitioners, slow rate of evolution of skills to match contemporary practices and gestation period of attaining competence relative to skills in other sectors.”

He said as the country strives to achieve sustainable economic growth and development, it is imperative that stakeholders address these challenges, proffer solutions to them towards ensuring skills development of the workforce. “It is important to state that the SSCBIN is private sector-led. Sixty percent of the members are drawn from the private sector comprising all the key stakeholders in the building ecosystem of the country.”

Highlighting the key responsibilities of the Sector Skills Council for Building in Nigeria as provided for in the National Skills Qualification Framework approved by the Federal Executive Council, Opaluwah said it will identify skill development needs and catalogue the types, address the skills gap and promote the development of a highly skilled and competent workforce, evolve a sector skills development plan and maintain a skills inventory and develop skill competency standards and qualifications.

According to him, participating in accreditation and standardization of training providers and training delivery is another task of the Council while also promoting excellence in training and service delivery.

He assured that the Council will establish a process of coordinating and incorporating emerging trends in skills development.

Opaluwah stated: “In line with these, the Sector Skills Council for Building in Nigeria has hit the ground running and has successfully developed occupational standards in the trade areas levels 1-3 of Plumbing, Masonry, Painting and Decoration, Tiling, Electrical Installation, Carpentry and Joinery, Welding, Paint Making, Scaffolding and Steel Formwork.”

He said “the standards on Aluminum Cladding and Floor Covering, levels 1-5 is in progress and will be concluded today.”

“Our Council will serve as a platform for collaboration among stakeholders in the sector, including government agencies, educational institutions, industry associations, employers of labour, manufacturers, professional bodies, regulators and workers’ representatives. We will facilitate the development of industry-driven training programs, certification standards, and accreditation mechanisms to ensure that our workforce is equipped with relevant up-to-date and state-of-the-art skills.”

“The Council shall develop a comprehensive plan to upskill and train one million artisans over the next five years. This plan, which can be expanded with sponsorship, will map out ways to develop a national skills database for the building industry, facilitate the establishment and accreditation of training centers in key locations across the country, and implement a certification program that is recognized by employers and industry stakeholders.

“This ambitious goal aligns with the Renewed Hope agenda of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as the objectives of the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF), which aims to promote the recognition, validation, and certification of skills acquired through formal, non-formal, and informal learning. Lifelong learning is now an accepted fact of life internationally.

“The SSBIN will pursue a vigorous Recognition of Prior Learning [RPL] programme to certify and uplift the competences of the nation’s artisans who are required to upskill to improve their performance and income levels. This we believe will invigorate the nations informally trained artisans in the nation’s building sector in the immediate future and organize their competency acquisition and certification on the long run.

“We are committed to working closely with development partners to develop a comprehensive training and certification program that addresses the specific needs of artisans in the building sector. Such program will encompass a wide range of skills across several competences and trade areas. We will also leverage technology and digital platforms to provide accessible and flexible training opportunities for artisans, regardless of their location and we are confident of the positive impact this would have on the industry and the economy.”

“In addition to upskilling and training, the SSC for Building in Nigeria will also focus on promoting innovation and best practices in the construction industry.”

“We will facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration among stakeholders to identify emerging trends and technologies that can enhance the productivity and sustainability of the building sector.”

He thanked Vice President Kashim Shettima who is Chairman of the National Skills Council (NSC) for the roles played by the body, the Seniro Special Assistant to President Tinubu, and commended the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), led by Professor Idris Bugaje, and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), and other stakeholders who work at the background to actualize skills development.

Registrar, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, Bldr. Adetunji Adeniran described the inauguration is an outcome of the efforts made by various stakeholders who worked behind the scene to put in place a critical building block required for the effective functioning of the National Skills Qualification Framework.

He described the inauguration is a milestone, adding that the Sector Skills Council will impact the global skills ecosystem.

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