The Federal Government says it will collaborate with relevant organisations including the Construction Skills Training and Empowerment Project (C-STEmp) to carry out a National Skills Gap Analysis for job creation. Mr Sunny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, made this disclosure in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the Construction Artisans Awards and Job Skills Expo.
The Artisans’ award and expo is a three-day event being organised by the Construction Skills Training and Empowerment Project Ltd.(C-STEmp). The event, which is meant for Artisans in active trade practice, is aimed at promoting creativity, innovation and craftsmanship toward celebrating and rewarding people who build. Echono said that the analysis would identify the skills and jobs required and the provisions of their appropriation through and across the various sectors. “The next step we want to take is to collaborate as a ministry with all the professional associations and C-STEmp to carry out a National Skills Gap Analysis. “Through the skills gap analysis, we will see in various sectors, professions, trades, the number of people needed to serve the growing population. “For example, we have a population of 180 million people, the analysis will show how many doctors needed to serve this population; it will show the number of doctors presently and being produced by medical institutions annually. Echono noted that the analysis would equally show the housing deficit that we have in the country and what plans on ground to build. He expressed dissatisfaction over the unemployment rate in the country, adding that 60 per cent of Nigerian population, especially the young people, unemployed. “We are having a high unemployment rate among this segment of our people, yet we are depending on our neighbouring countries for relevant skills in construction industry. “If you are looking for a good electrician, plumber, tiller, you will be told that people from Ghana, Togo among others will give you the right workmanship and quality desired. “That is a complete indictment on all of us in the construction industry and we need to address that challenge,’’ the permanent secretary said. He, however, commended the organisers of the job skills expo, describing it as an award system which structures were put in place to celebrate the Artisans who would excel in the trades. He further noted that a competitive environment would stimulate requirements and drives to acquire the skills for workmanship and quality desired. Chairman, Board of Trustees of C-STEmp, Rev. Ugochukwu Chime, also said that the event would herald a remarkable transformation, especially on the targeted beneficiaries, who are the teeming unemployed youth. He appreciated the active support of some major stakeholders including the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Job Creation Team of the Presidency, the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) and Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN). He also thanked the Federation of the Construction Industry (FOCI) and the British Council, which enabled support through an international partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board of Northern Ireland. Chime noted that as the President of the REDAN, he had experienced first-hand the challenges of skills shortage which C-STEmp was set up to address. He said that C-STEmp had since its inception remain committed to actively developing skills, especially in the construction trades, where enormous employment and economic prospects existed for full potentials. The expert said that vocation training and non-formal education had been very much undervalued in the education system compared to primary, secondary and higher education. “They represent a relatively small share of education budgets and investments in spite of the fact that they are crucial to the country’s development,’’ he added. He further said that the primary challenge to Vocational Skills development stemmed from the negative social image, perception and attractiveness of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). This, he said, was not only in less developed countries like Nigeria but also in developed countries, adding that artisans skills would be rejuvenated for development in the country.