Employment generation: FOCI launches academy to train young school leavers, artisans

•To bridge gap, address issues of unskilled artisans in construction sector

The Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) has launched its long-awaited Skills Academy (FSA), to tackle multiple issues of unemployment among young Nigerians and challenges facing the construction industry in the country.

The first phase of the academic was launched in Abuja on Friday and the target, first, is to train young school leavers, artisans and workers in the building and construction sector.

Specifically, the move is to bridge the gap between the skills required in the industry and the rather unskilled artisans that were available across the country.

FOCI said only 25 per cent of young secondary schools leavers in the country have the possibility of getting to higher institutions and would therefore target the remaining 75 per cent across the country to be trained as skilled artisans, with the required skills to grow in the sector rather than remain jobless.

Recall that the incidences of building collapse and construction defects in Nigeria have been a major concern not only to the professionals in the construction industry but also to the clients and the eventual end users.

The President of FOCI, Nasiru Dantata said: “FOCI identified the deplorable state of unskilled artisans as a problem that needs to be quickly addressed. This prompted the incorporation of FOCI Skills Academy to tackle this problem.

“Over the years, the construction industry has been faced with 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.”

He, therefore, charged the fast-growing youthful population in the country to take the opportunity of the academy in order to horn their skills in construction.

He said, “Nigerian youth should 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.”

Also, the Director-General, FOCI, Mrs Olubunmi Adekoje, expressed delight over the fulfilment of what began as a dream in 2015; but was now set to commence. She said FSA will begin enrolling of trainees by the first quarter of 2021.

Mrs Adekoje said: “The first intake of trainees will commence, starting with Masonry in Abuja by first quarter and thereafter FSA will begin operations in Lagos and Port Harcourt from July 2021.

“Today, in Nigeria, it is estimated that about 25 per cent of graduating students from secondary schools have little possibility of getting access to higher education. FSA intents to focus on this 75 per cent and aspires to offer new hope and better opportunities.”

She commended Julius Berger Plc, a member of FOCI, for its collaboration with the federation in building workshops and furnishing it with equipment for the use of FSA in commemoration of its 50th anniversary of successful operation in Nigeria.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, who was represented by Dr Kudirat Ibiyemi Oladipo said: “As we are all aware, a country cannot attain sustainable economic growth without investing in its youths. I, therefore, wish to sincerely commend the executives of FOCI for establishing the Skills Academy which is expected to play a key role in the realization of the change agenda of the present administration in reducing unemployment, transforming the economy, fast-tracking development, curbing crimes and youth restiveness.”



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