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Groups Launch Academy For Training Of Artisans

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – In a bid to address the deplorable state of unskilled artisans in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, the Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) in partnership with Julius Berger Nigeria (JBN) Plc has inaugurated a training academy for artisans in the country.

Over the years, the construction industry has been faced by many challenges ranging from heavy taxation to lack of adequately skilled artisans, disrespect for professional ethics, substandard projects and huge debts owed by the government among others.

While the causes and consequences of these are well known, the corrective processes have not been actively put in place. This prompted the incorporation of FOCI-JBN Skills Academy (FSA) to tackle this problem.

FOCI is an advocacy group and the Employers’ Union for construction and allied companies in Nigeria. The union provides a platform for its members to pursue common interests within the law, liaise with relevant government agencies in matters of common interest and regulate the minimum conditions of service for employees in the construction industry.

Founded in 1954, FOCI has been the mouthpiece of construction companies in Nigeria and its members are engaged in building and Civil Engineering Contracting and Sub-contracting as well as stocking and supply of materials, plants and equipment used in the industry.

Similarly, Julius Berger is a leading Nigerian company offering holistic services covering the planning, design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of building, infrastructure and industry projects in Nigeria.

The training centre  which was launched at the weekend in Abuja, is aimed at helping Nigerian youths acquire vocational skills, develop their character, intellect and mental resilience that will enable them to prosper in all circumstances.

In addition, FSA will equally train its students not to merely improve the construction industry but also to use the skills they have acquired to build their communities and enhance the common good.

Moreover, the academy will essentially provide Dual Vocational Training (DVT) in three construction trades which include Masonry, Carpentry and Plumbing in the first instance.

Director General of FOCI, Engr. Mrs. Olubunmi Adekoje said the training in these three trades will be of international standard and in conformity with the Nigerian Skills Qualification Framework.

To achieve this, according to her, FOCI has enlisted the support of Sequa (GIZ) a German corporation with expertise in training of artisans in various trades.

“As a stepping stone, various workshops have been held in collaboration with  Sequa (GIZ) and competent artisans from FOCI Member Companies on Occupational Profiles Review and Valuation”, she said.

She further explained that the academy will run a year long programme for trainees at the end of which they will be conferred with the qualification of Nigerian Skills Qualification level 3.

“In preparation for the commencement of training in the academy, FOCI employed two Masonry trainers in July, 2020 who are currently working on the Masonry curriculum with consultants in Germany”, she added.

The FOCI boss also disclosed that an Integrated Expert from Germany will start work in January, 2021, adding that Trainers for plumbing and carpentry as well as the Training Centre Coordinator will be recruited to begin work in January 2021 as well.

“In our quest for a world class training Centre, we feel that a periodic   training for the Trainers is also required. This is in order to keep them up to date with global changes. Therefore, our first Train-the-Trainers Workshop for Masonry trainers will take place in March, 2021.

“The first intake of trainees will commence in April 2021 starting with Masonry. By the third quarter of Year 2021, FSA will begin operation in Lagos and Portharcourt”, she further disclosed. 

Engr. Mrs.  Adekoje said young people are therefore encouraged to learn a construction trade while in employment or self-employed, adding that they can move up the NSQF ladder up to NSQL Level 6 which is equivalent to a first degree or HND.

 “The slogan of FSA is ‘Learn and Earn’. It is our hope that the Nigerian young men and women who are driven by their own wide knowledge and aspirations would make good use of this opportunity and change the narrative in their societies and the country at large.

“I appreciate the collaboration of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc through the Managing Director and the Executive Director (Admin) for making this vision  a reality”, she stressed.

Earlier in his welcome address, President and Chairman of the Governing Council of FOCI, Engr. Nasiru Dantata expressed satisfaction over the actualization of the union’s aspiration to set up the academy.

“Today, is a day of celebration. A day we realized one of our most cherished dreams, a dream that started like a fantasy in 2015. I see FSA as a pioneer institution which I hope in the next few years will become the best artisans’ training centre in Nigeria of highest international standards.

“As we perform the ground-breaking ceremony of this great academy, it is my prayer that Nigerian youth will make the best use of this institution, I also urge the government and other stakeholders to give the necessary support required by FSA so that many young men and women may have a better future”, he added.

Also in his remarks at the event,  the Managing Director of JBN, Dr. Lars Richter congratulated FOCI for the initiative and the drive to making it a reality, adding that he is looking forward to the first graduating class of FSA.

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