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Nigeria needs 20,000 welders to achieve 20:2020 goal


Welder //Photo: ofwabroad

Welder //Photo: ofwabroad

Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Femi Ajayi has disclosed that for the country to be among the 20 most advanced countries in the world come 2020, it needs about 20,000 skilled welders in key sectors of the economy.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ‘Module C’ Welders Training and Certification Programme (WTCP), in Lagos recently, Ajayi, noted that the programme is in tandem with President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda for youth empowerment and employment.

He said growing skills gap in the country, especially in the oil and gas sector led the Fund to conduct an industry-wide skills gap audit, which revealed a huge gap in capacity building.

According to him, in 2001, the Fund conducted an industry-wide skills gap audit, which identified capacity building in the area of welding and fabrication as a veritable tool to achieving quick wins or plucking low hanging fruits in the quest for the development of local content in the oil and gas industry.

“The audit identified the requirement of about 8,000 skilled welders to effectively man the ongoing and planned oil and gas projects in Nigeria. By the year 2020, Nigeria would need about 20,000 welders if it were to attain and remain among the 20 most advanced countries in the world. Thus the Fund’s resolve to train and empower Nigerian youths to acquire skills and become productive in the sector”, he added.

He said WTCP is in line with the federal government’s drive to domesticate activities in the nation’s oil and gas sector, adding that government is fully committed to building capacities and creating a pool of internationally certified welder to enhance Nigerian content development in the petroleum industry.

He challenged about 400 beneficiaries of the WTCP to be disciplined and dedicated to their programme so as to proceed to Advance Welding Certification Programme targeted for the best 200 participants.

“The best in skill and attitude will benefit from further programme which Advanced Welding course. It was the skill gap challenge that prompted the Fund to develop the WTCP targeted at training and certifying 2500 Nigerians as international welders.

“We have so far trained over 1000 Nigerians in various stages of the Welders Training and Certification programme to international certifications. A good number of the trained welders are currently engaged in the industry, while many of them are being used by the various training centers as qualified instructors of the International Institute of Welding. One can confidently affirm that the ‘Train-the-Trainer’ approach in which 22 Nigerians were trained in South Africa and Germany has lived up to expectation,” Ajayi expressed.

He charged the trainees to be of exemplary conduct and strictly comply with the training schedules and regulations so as to progress to further programmes.

Though the entry requirement for the nine-months course is O-level result, but the Fund’s secretary revealed that about 80 per cent of the participants comprised OND, HND and Bachelor’s degree holders.

In his remark, Head Nigerian Content Department PTDF, Yinka Agboola said the essence is to empower young people in Nigeria to become international welders, so that the can fill the gaps in the oil and gas industry.

“We have this problem of unemployment and then it is because people don’t have the right skills, you keep hearing that there are too many people without jobs, but what is really happening is that there are too many jobs without people, the jobs are there but people don’t have the skills to do this job, so that is why we are empowering them with the right skills so they can take up the job positions in the oil and gas sector,” he said.

On the selection process, he said, “We advertised and people applied, though the entry requirement is school certificate but we still organised aptitude test, so people were selected based on their performance. The programme is in three stages, module A is the fillet welding; B is the plate welding and C, which is the last stage is the pipe welding. It is a progression process, you have to pass module A before moving to module B and then C before you can have the international certification by International Institute of Welding.”

President, Nigeria Institute of Welding, Dr. Solomon Edabiri, commended PTDF for approving the WTCP programme stressing that however there is need to review the policy and accommodate new trends.

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