The Lagos State government, on Wednesday, conducted a passing out ceremony for 200 artisans under its master craftsman training programme to further tackle the shortage of skilled middle-level workers in the construction sector.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State said, during the ceremony at Agidingbi, Lagos, that the training was aimed at closing the skills deficit in the building sector.
Mr Sanwo-Olu added that the training would empower artisans and craftsmen and also help to stimulate the provision of sustainable, decent and affordable housing projects in the state.
The governor, represented by Akinyemi Ajigbotafe, the Lagos State commissioner for wealth creation and employment, said the initiative was the first of its kind in Nigeria.
He said the programme was also in fulfilment of his promise to Lagos residents to uplift youths and develop the housing value chain.
“As a government, we have consistently identified gaps in the various sectors of the economy and equally set plans in motion to address them.
“Hence our desire to build sustainable and affordable housing projects across the state, leveraging on raw talents from within our space.
“This will promote local content, especially in areas such as masonry, furniture and carpentry, plumbing and pipe fitting, electrical installation and maintenance as well as painting and decoration.
“In addition, we are committed to not only growing the capacity of artisans but also networking them to potential markets and making them the first priority for our housing projects across the state,” he said.
He said the beneficiaries would be added to an existing database and uploaded on the state government’s website in a bid to give them global recognition.
He said additional training centres would be created to engage more artisans in the subsequent phases of the programme to demonstrate his commitment to youth empowerment and the growth of the informal sector.
“The objective is to further bridge the over 15,000 skills gap in the built sector and ultimately stimulate the provision of sustainable, decent and affordable housing projects for the state.
“Today, we are not just graduating artisans; we are also giving them the required tools to push through the skills gathered in the course of the intensive training facilitated by qualified and certified trainers,” he said.
He congratulated the beneficiaries and advised them to put the skills learnt to use to positively impact their lives and society, and that government would monitor their progress to ensure the programme achieved the desired impact.
The commissioner for housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, said the housing sector represented “M” in the governor’s THEMES Plus Agenda with a strong focus on bridging the shelter gap.
Mr Akinderu-Fatai said the intensive six-week training programmes were designed to cover both theoretical and practical methods to equip participants with contemporary concepts, techniques, practice and approaches in the sector.
He said the initiative would consolidate the efforts of the state government in the provision of safe and sustainable housing projects for the public and contribute to the eradication of the global housing deficit.
He added that the ministry of housing adopted best global standards by partnering with the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) and other relevant stakeholders.
“Hence, it is pertinent to state clearly that the training syllabus of the Master Craftsman programme was approved by NIOB and LASTVEB which makes the certification acceptable both locally and globally,” he said.
The commissioner advised beneficiaries to be worthy ambassadors of the government in the application and transfer of skills and adopting best standards and practices.
The executive secretary, LASTVEB, Moronke Azeez, represented by Oluwo, said if artisans were not properly trained, they would deliver bad services.
Ms Azeez said there were too many quacks in the industry and appealed to the graduands to avoid working with them towards upholding high construction standards.
The chairman, House committee on housing in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ege Adebisi, said the training was beyond skills and had given the beneficiaries confidence, urging them to ensure the preservation of craft.
Outstanding artisans and craftsmen across fields were presented with awards, while work tools/kits were presented to all the participants.