Concerned about the dearth of skillful artisans in Nigeria, especially, bricklayers, a new programme aiming at improving their practices has got the attention of stakeholders in the building sector.
The new initiative is as result of a tripartite agreement between the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Cement Technology Institute of Nigeria (CTIN).
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), of the Lagos State Bricklayers Association in Ikorodu, Lagos state, last week, Chairman of Craftsmen and Artisans Committee of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, who is also the President of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) and the guest speaker at the occasion identified two major challenges in the Nigerian bricklaying trade, namely: inadequate training and lack of exposure to the modern practices.
Under the proposed pact, Awobodu explained that the building artisans and craftsmen would now have the privilege of undergoing certification process through the National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQF) of the Nigerian Institute of Building, said Awobodu, and hinted that the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) has recently given the NIOB the awarding status for trained artisans.
“The grading process, which would be handled by qualified assessors and verifiers, who are seasoned and professional builders would ensure that artisans and craftsmen of high quality are graduated from this educational system.
“This development would enable the artisans to overcome the tragedy of hierarchical inhibition, where they could not aspire to higher rungs in the construction structure.READ ALSO – Why Building Projects Are Abandoned In Nigeria
“The programme would be a subsidized training scheme that would attract Nigerian youths to acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge in various building trades, including skills upgrading training for the existing or old artisans that could enable them graduate to craftsmen grade”.
At the meeting, masons/bricklayers have been advised to teach their children the trade of bricklaying, block-laying and stone craft in order to avert a decline in the workforce of masonry in the Nigerian building industry.
The gathering bemoaned the decline in the quantity and quality of bricklayers, arguing that despite the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, most youths are not interested in the bricklaying trade as they considered it tedious and bereft of economic growth parameters.
“Nature abhors vacuum. The aging and debilitated bricklayers must be replaced by younger ones with time in order to ensure continuity of this essential service to humanity. Importation of bricklaying and rendering or plastering services from neighbouring West African countries was shameful and of great disservice to the Nigerian economy”, they argued.