Academy graduates artisans on new plumbing techniques
Better days are ahead for the nation’s construction sector as a firm, One Precious Life (OPL) Academy has taken a bold step towards addressing the dearth of skill manpower in the built environment.
Availability of skilled tradesman has been a major problem in Nigeria, which has forced construction firms to rely on tradesmen from the neighbouring West African countries.
In some cases, many of the locals who are given opportunities could not do the jobs to the satisfaction of the firms.
But to change this narrative, OPL Academy has begun to equip artisans with new techniques in their field, which will enable them compete favourably with their counter parts.
To this end, the firm last week graduated 25 artisans on latest plumbing techniques through its maiden Tradesman Empowerment programme (TEP), in Lagos.
The event sponsored by African Capital Alliance (ACA), involved series of sessions such as professional soft skills, leadership and ethics, emotional intelligence, communication skills, entrepreneurship, design thinking, critical thinking and problem solving, technical master classes and computer literacy.
The programme, which was aimed at equipping a carefully selected crop of technically skilled plumbers with important technical skills and soft skills needed to build and retain strong professional careers, as well as place them in jobs.
Three top candidates were awarded scholarship and an opportunity to sit for the internationally recognized and industry approved City and Guilds certification.
The Chief Executive officer of OPL Academy, Oare Ehiemua said the programme was born out of the desire to take care of the youths. Participants between the age of 25 and 35 years, who had trade certificate in plumbing and have acquired various years of experience in their trade and went through 140 hours in training with 15 different facilitators.
Some of them, she said are victims of broken education system and are now being given a new lease of life.
She stressed that some construction companies are already eager to absorb them because of the professionalism and resilience exhibited during their training.
She said: “this pilot program has been a huge success and a validation of our belief that young tradesmen in Nigeria can deliver services to global standards if given access to the right skills and opportunities anchored on industry recognized standards.
“We are looking forward to continuing this journey working with plumbers. Electricians, masons and carpenters and encourage companies to support our efforts by partnering with us on our apprenticeship and job placement programmes”, she added.
A board member of African Capital Alliance Foundation, Mrs. Uwa Osa-Oboh said the programme was in line with the vision of the firm, which include entrepreneurship development, governance and ethics .
She urged the beneficiaries to build on their capacity to be self employed. She also tasked the beneficiaries on attitude stressing that right attitude will take them further than their skills.
According to her, although Nigerians are innovation they lack diligence and staying power, which made them to do shoddy jobs.
In his remarks, the chairman of OPL Academy board , Mr., Paul Ayim of Phillips Consulting Scholarship, expressed optimism that the programme will meet the expected vision.
He urged them to use the opportunity effectively because it is an event that us going to places with a humble beginning.
According to him, there is need to design a structure for the teeming Nigerian youth as was done in Switzerland which has zero youth unemployment because, there was an already structure to take up youth after thee high school.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Ayodeji Adebo commended OPL Academy for its foresight in identifying the knowledge and attitude gap in the tradesman activities in Nigeria.
He assured that the training, which lasted couple of weeks, has opened a window of opportunity for them to intensify their collaboration and to do more business.
The event witnessed the award of scholarship to three participants for the City and Guild Training and examination and the state of the art complete plumbing toolboxes to some of the awardees.
It also witnessed presentations of projects by the participants as part of their graduation requirement.
It included Detachable Mobile Toilet, water level indicator and a clearing agent for easier disposal of sanitary pads to ease blockage of pipes.
OPL Academy is an employment accelerator which trains and recruits construction workers in Nigeria.
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