Thursday, 28th September 2023

Imperative of skills acquisition to unlocking power sector potential

By Waliat Musa
09 May 2023   |   3:22 am
The National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) has said the continuous supply of skilled and competent workforce to operate, maintain, manage assets, and institutions within the power sector will unlock its potential, and reduce challenges of the sector .

Ahmed Nagode

•As NAPTIN introduces curriculum in building renewable energy

The National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) has said the continuous supply of skilled and competent workforce to operate, maintain, manage assets, and institutions within the power sector will unlock its potential, and reduce challenges of the sector .

The institute’s Director General (DG), Ahmed Nagode, yesterday at the alumni seminar in Lagos, said research findings revealed that unlocking potential of the sector through Continuous Professional Development (CPD), improves market demands.

Ensuring the challenges are being tackled, the institute, with the intervention of the Federal Government on the need to transform vocational training in the power sector, has been able to engage donor agencies, as well as empower them to have more training facilities across the value chain, stimulators, substations, and more courses to meet dynamic changes in the sector. He explained that the institute had impacted the country’s power sector by providing the necessary skills that operate and maintain the sector.

“We are very much equipped by the government to carry out the building of vibrant effective and efficient workforce for the power sector. I call on utilities to see the need to buy into this training and ensure their staffs are well trained, to go beyond doing the job; with that, safety and protection of equipment will be guaranteed because if you have good hands operating and maintaining equipment, definitely you will have fewer cases of losses in equipment and lives,” he said.

He also revealed that a national training sector policy has been approved by the Federal Government at the National Council of Power to ensure a minimum number of training hours for every staff in the power sector, strategically built to ensure staff are well trained with necessary skills to operate on the network.

“To shore up our efforts, we have taken steps by pushing for a National Power Sector Training Policy and Framework (NPSTP) that will ensure that a minimum training and capacity building time for every employee in the power sector is respected.

“NAPTIN has also been accredited as a pivotal member of the Power Sector Skills Council by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). The onus is on us as Power Sector Skills Council to do more in playing our role of ensuring that the policy statements that drive CPD in the NPSTP are communicated and implemented to the fullest,” he said

The institute has been able to secure scholarships for utilities in Nigeria under their centre of excellence participation at the Association of Power Utilities of Africa, the continental association of all utilities in the sector designed to build human capacity in the sector

As a result of the scholarship, NAPTIN has been able to train and equip more than 1000 staff of utilities across generation, transmission, and distribution to enable them to operate on the power network.

“If you look at the distribution company, these are very critical setups, they need to operate and maintain this infrastructure, which is very important, you need to have skills to be able to do the job, there is a difference between what you learn in the classroom and what you learn on the field. This is what skills acquisition is about, we are doing all we can to ensure, more hands are built to be able to man, operate and maintain the infrastructure across the value chain of generation, transmission, and distribution,” Nagode said

The DG said to keep up with the changes and demands of the power sector as a constantly evolving space with new technologies, new policies, and challenges, the need to continuously update skills and knowledge with an emphasis on continuous professional development.

“The Federal Government, through NAPTIN, and sponsorship of Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and European Union (EU), embarked on a project to enhance vocational training for the power sector in Nigeria, experience consultants have been engaged to assist in reviewing and redeveloping our product packages with a view to making them more relevant in today’s market and globally competitive,” he added.

Also, with a country of over 200 million people struggling with 5000MW compared to some countries with lesser population and more increased MW, the institute revealed that it came up with four critical areas in their curriculum for renewables to bring more electricity into the energy mix Nagode revealed that the institute focused largely on Solar PV, under Nigeria Energy Support Programme handled by GIZ, came up with four critical areas in renewable energy with training across the six geo-political zones to empower them to be able to install and maintain Solar PV

“NAPTIN came up with four critical areas in renewable energy, that is; Solar PV installation and maintenance, which is the ability to build young Nigerians to install and maintain Solar PV, second, is the Solar PV supervision which is an advanced stage of installation and maintenance, the third area is the area of mini-grid where we have mini-grid designs and be able to put up off-grid hydro solar or renewable energy infrastructure, the fourth area is energy efficiency which is very important in terms of ability to manage the quantum of energy we have,” he said

Speaking on the collaborations so far in building renewable energy, Nagode revealed “we just concluded a collaboration about a year or two with an international Dunlop to train about 300 young Nigerians in the area of Solar PV installation and also mini-grid, International Finance Corporation (IFC) got scholarships for young Nigerians and then came into our facility to train, another collaboration is with Environmental Rights Action (ERA), to build on renewable energy and also get young Nigerians off the street.”

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