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Technical education key to Nigeria’s developmental aspirations, say entrepreneurs

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The Managing Director of Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Ben Langat, says his organisation’s commitment to continue investing in young talents, besides the important role technical education plays in the development of a country made the firm to set up a Technical Training Centre (TTC).

Speaking in Lagos at the 22nd graduation ceremony of the Nigerian Bottling Company technical Training Centre, Langat disclosed that the technical training programme was a core ingredient of the company now because as a business with strong local heritage spanning over six decades, it will continue to invest in its people and transform its business with sustainable models that are time-tested.

He maintained that the training was packaged to ensure that the company keeps staying on top of the game. According to him, since the technical training centre was established in 1996 with the objective of continually training and empowering technical personnel,
over 4, 500 participants have completed various technical programmes at the facility. “The TTC is one of our commitments to support human capital development, improve productivity and stimulate value-added production capacity that stimulates economic growth,” he said

The Head of the NBC Technical Training Centre, Pastor Tope Dada, thanked the leadership of the company for coming up with the programme and ensuring high standard through commitment to the centre.

The best graduating student, Uroko James Uroko and the second best, Atogbon Anna, on behalf of their colleagues, appreciated the company for the training, saying it has helped to widen and upgrade their technical skills and make them better persons.

The special guest at the ceremony and the 2nd Vice Chairman, Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Paul Gbededo, said that technical education holds the key to Nigeria’s developmental aspiration.

Gbededo, who stood in for the President of MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, maintained that because technical training remains a critical element for success in the manufacturing sector, it then means Nigeria must pay maximum attention to technical training if it hopes to experience development.

“ There is, therefore, no gainsaying that sound technical education is crucial to any manufacturing company that would want to remain competitive, profitable and relevant. Manufacturing is essential for long-term economic growth and resilience. It is crucial for employment generation, wealth creation and raising the quality of life of Nigerians. It is therefore imperative that the right people are properly trained and equipped with the necessary specialised skills required for technological advancement. This will guarantee increased, sustainable and profitable manufacturing.”

He noted that it was unfortunate that the country’s educational system can no longer be trusted to provide the very much-needed technical knowledge perhaps because they were not adequately positioned to do so.

He also noted that there is misdirection in the perception of technical knowledge as it is being taught less in schools and most people do not know the immense opportunities abound in technical education.

Gbededo therefore called on the Federal Government to ensure that technological education remains a core ingredient of the educational system at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education aside from encouraging all sectors of society including industries to train people in technical management.

He argued that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure access to, and the acquisition of sound technologies and their corresponding know-how, support local capacity building by strengthening institutional capacities for research and development, implement programmes and policies that address factors that will enable the efficiency of technical skill providers and promote long-term partnerships between holders of technologies and potential users.

“I understand that there are 29 technicians who will be graduating today. This fresh set of trainees have successfully completed a fifteen month technical training certification program and now have the necessary knowledge to meet and sustain production targets efficiently and effectively.

“The Nigerian manufacturing sector currently constitutes about 10% of our GDP and accounts for about 12% of employment in the formal sector. Manufacturing is essential for long-term economic growth and resilience. It is crucial for employment generation, wealth creation and raising the quality of life of Nigerians. The sector has however, been burdened with poor performance due to varying factors which include, but are not limited to: harsh economic environment, acute state of infrastructure deficiency, general insecurity and perceived threat to political and economic stability, smuggling, high cost of production, inflation, low level of technology.”

He however noted that in recent times, the Nigerian manufacturing sector has begun to experience growth. According to him, it is expected that the more investments are made, the more employment opportunities will be created.

“This growth has led to a renewed importance and need for manufacturing technicians; people who are highly productive, people who are able to solve practical problems by applying the skills and techniques already learnt. It is therefore imperative that the right people are properly trained and equipped with the necessary specialized skills required for technological advancement. This will guarantee increased, sustainable and profitable manufacturing.

For the graduating technicians, he enjoined them to take advantage of all that you have learnt and capitalize on the opportunities before them.

He also advised them to leverage on the creativity and the newly acquired skills by continuing with the zeal, dedication and hard work that has brought them thus far, as these will prove to be very valuable in the advancement of a successful career.

“You must continue to train and retrain yourselves, dare to challenge what you already know and break new grounds. Do not allow yourselves to be inhibited or straight jacketed by only the knowledge you have, but use it instead, as a springboard to hone yourselves. Who says you cannot be innovators!!!”

Gbedebo commended the efforts of Nigerian Bottling Company in contributing to the sustainability of the manufacturing industry by harnessing the talents in young men and women.

“It is our hope that the manufacturing industry will continue to grow and bring forth very successful firms; firms that will be capable of rapidly adapting their physical and intellectual structures to exploit changes in technology, as manufacturing becomes faster and more responsive to changing global markets. Successful firms that will also be able to harness a wider skills base, with highly qualified leaders and managers whose expertise combines both commercial and technical acumen.”



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