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Firm partners stakeholders to bridge construction trade skills gap

A skills development firm, iCreate Africa, has partnered with stakeholders in the built environment to bridge the trade skills gap prevalent in the construction industry.…

A skills development firm, iCreate Africa, has partnered with stakeholders in the built environment to bridge the trade skills gap prevalent in the construction industry.

The firm said it would develop and rebrand technical trade professions through its annual Skills Fest, as part of efforts to empower young people and address the shortage of artisans in construction.

Briefing journalists in Abuja at the weekend, Founder of iCreate Africa, Mr. Bright Jaja, said the annual fest, which would run from 4th to 6th of April, would  feature construction skills competitions, exhibitions, technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and skills awards.

He said: “While there is an increase in youth unemployment in Nigeria, a case study conducted by the Centre for Global Development indicates that 70 per cent of construction firms are having a hard time filling trade positions such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and tile layers among others.

“The younger generations are disinterested in trade work; available trade and technical education have been phased out, and the aging workforces are retiring.

“This gap exists because of the negative perception and misconception of trade careers. For example, trade careers in construction are considered low-paying, backbreaking, unsafe and few opportunities for advancement.”

Jaja said to address the construction labour shortage and competency in service delivery, all industry stakeholders should become a part of the solution in rebranding the perception of skilled trades’ professions.

He noted that rebranding of building trades from menial to gainful careers is one of the strategies needed to reverse the declining workforce trend.

“All industry stakeholders need to stake a claim in reviving the reputation of trades’ people by re-educating society about the benefits of careers in construction to attract younger generations to enter the workforce and portray them positively.”

“The way to change this downward momentum goes beyond creating more training programmes, we must first address the outcome of trade professions in Nigeria by repositioning skilled trades from the current informality and negative perception towards a more profitable and positive position.

“This is why through the iCreate Skills Fest, industries, institutions and government will collaborate to improve the training and employment structure of skilled workers, starting with the construction industry,” he added.

Jaja said in a bid to successfully execute the event, the firm has partnered with stakeholders in the construction industry and development agencies such as Bosch, Giz, Sterling Bank, Skillers, African International Housing Show, Federation of Construction Industry, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), among others.

He urged the government, policymakers, educational institutions, construction companies, real estate developers, manufacturers of building materials and the general public to get involved in efforts at shaping the country’s workforce..

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