Sequa partners with FOCI to deliver competency-based training in construction trades
One of the biggest challenges of the Nigerian labour market is a severe shortage of skilled workers. Notwithstanding the high number of graduates produced yearly by higher institutions in the country, the market is near absent of the kind of technical capacities required to meet labour market demand, especially in the construction sector. The reason for this deficiency stems from decades of neglect and underfunding of technical education, which over time has resulted in low-quality vocational training in which learners are put through poorly equipped technical training institutions without learning the skills employers need. The lack of private sector participation in vocational training stands in stark contrast to the needs the private sector has in it.
To address the skill shortages and gaps in vocational training in the construction sector, the programme Skills Development for Youth Employment (SKYE) through its implementing partner sequa gGmbH partnered with the Federation of Construction Industries (FOCI) to implement a Competency-Based Training. The training was delivered in cooperation with companies to close the identified capacity gaps between demand and supply of technical capacity in the construction sector.
With the support of its members, FOCI took on the task of establishing and operating the FOCI Skills Academy (FSA). Drawing from a needs analysis conducted across its 87 members, FOCI selected 3 trades – Masonry, Carpentry and Plumbing – to serve as a pilot trade for this project. To achieve their objective, the FOCI SKYE collaboration developed a comprehensive business plan to raise capital for the development and equipment of the FSA from its 87-member organisation. The collaboration yielded the development of standards, training and learning materials, and training of trainers to upscale the quality of training delivery in each of the selected trades.
To continue to empower Nigerians with skills needed, FOCI aims to commence training in Carpentry and Plumbing in Abuja in 2021 and expand operation to Lagos and Port Harcourt by 2022. With SKYE’s 2020 review of five National Occupational Standards (NOS) in construction trades, the completion of the Abuja FSA, and the commencement of training at the academy, FOCI can deliver capacity in construction trades under a competency-based approach. The organisation is producing nationally certified artisans under the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), and it is developing a pool of skilled artisans to fill capacity gaps in the construction sector that will meet the demand of the labour market.
The combinations of these gains will in the mid to long term necessitate and establish a synergetic relationship between the public and private sector as it concerns the delivery of vocational education and training (VET) and upscales the perception of technical training in Nigeria.