Shelter Watch, GIZ kick off training of artisans

No fewer than 120 building artisans, trained by an NGO, Shelter Watch Initiative (SWI), on Friday graduated at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun. Photo; corruption

No fewer than 120 building artisans, trained by an NGO, Shelter Watch Initiative (SWI), on Friday graduated at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun. Photo; corruption

• NGO graduates 120 building industry craftsmen

BETTER days may lie ahead for Nigerian artisans as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Shelter Watch has entered an agreement with German service provider in the field of international cooperation, GIZ to boost their skills in building and construction industry.

The partnership, among other things will introduce structure into the rank and file of the nation’s artisans, most of whom, till date, still fond of roaming the streets or gathering in uncoordinated manners around some areas throughout the federation.

Executive Director, Shelter Watch, Mr. Olutade Segun, who is the promoter of this initiative, made this disclosure recently in Ogun State while graduating 120 retrained artisans. The event, which was held within ASUP Building, Ilaro Polytechnic, Ogun State, was attended by the President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Tunde Lasabi, Executive Secretary, Mortgage Bank Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Mr. Kayode Omotosho, Secretary General, Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria, Mr. Akintoye Adeoye among others.

Under the partnership, an initiative, known as Job Centre Initiative (JCI) project is on the line, with Ogun state chosen as the pilot scheme for the project. Shelter Watch and its technical partner GIZ (German Cooperation) are collaborating on this project.

In his address during the graduation ceremony, Olutade who said that his company had successfully retrained about 2000 artisans in various polytechnics across Lagos and Ogun states, has commenced using the self sponsored retrained artisans to empower Nigerian youths free. He added that, the 70 percent on-site training and 30 percent class room theory project is set to reverse the existing arrangement by ensuring better and practical understanding of the trades, lack of which has been giving foreign artisans preference.

“Apart from the housing need of the nation, which is put at over 17 million units, Nigeria has the biggest construction industry in Africa. The building or construction industry is expecting high growth rates, thus in the years to come, Nigeria could be one of the largest construction markets in the world with a high employment potential for the Nigerian artisans.”

But, he noted however that, the development of local work force and a transparent and easily accessible labour market is a big challenge, adding that, until now, no single state including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has a designated place for engaging good artisans, as he said, Nigerian artisans advertise on street walls; gather under the bridges or more often, other un-authorized places. Complaints by the public of fraudulent practices by Nigerian artisans have continued to open doors for foreign artisans.

Shelter Watch chief said the purpose of the centre was to wean building artisans off the streets, ensure jobs for the good ones and encourage Nigerian youths to take over from the ageing artisans, Ogun state was chosen for the pilot scheme of the Job Center Initiative (JCI) project.

“The Centers are to be managed by an architect who was an artisan in Italy for over two years and until recently was an artisan for over 13 years in the United Kingdom. While still working in the United Kingdom, his organization moved him to Togo and Republic of Benin to retrain building artisans for charity projects. The self-sustaining Centers are not only designed to ensure quality jobs but also to serve as a place for knowledge transfer.

To achieve the above through which each experienced and retrained artisan will empower four youths free, we hereby solicit support of government at all levels, stakeholders in the building/construction industry and donor agencies. It is worth mentioning that the centers are responsible for all actions/inactions of the retrained artisans on site. Julius Berger recently handed over some of its experienced artisans to the NGO for the Job Center project.”

Apart from ensuring database of good artisans, Olutade said the Job Center project was designed to among other things wean building artisans off the streets, use urban development to fight urban poverty, reduce underemployment and unemployment, reduce capital flight, establish the needed bridge between the ageing artisans and Nigerian youths, repackage the subsector to attract Nigerian youths, minimize factors inhibiting sustainable development, reduce incessant collapse of buildings, empower and ensure jobs for 4000 youth within three years in each state of the federation.

According to him, with Job Centers across the country, lack of structure, which has been the bane of development of the sub sector of the construction industry would be resolved.

NIOB president, Tunde Lasabi, commended the efforts of both Shelter Watch and the federal polytechnic, Ilaro for not only retraining the artisans, but ready to take responsibilities for their actions and inactions on sites. He called on the graduating artisans to get closer to the institute for certification.

CEO MBAN, Kayode Omotoso, called on the retrained artisans to be more serious with their jobs. According to him “you are potential millioners, who have all it takes to drive the economy’ Commending the organizers, he said only passion could have sustain the project till now, he therefore called on relevant agencies to support the initiative.

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