Nigerians yet to tap the opportunities in construction industry - NATIONAL CATALYST


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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Nigerians yet to tap the opportunities in construction industry

By Theresa Moses

The construction industry in Nigeria have opportunities not only to make money but to also improve the quality of lives yet can't boast of skilled manpower.

Mr. Gbola Oba, stated this over the weekend during a free 1-day seminar organised by Nigeria's leading building and construction training institute, Universal Learn Direct Academia (ULDA) Limited for potential emigrants and their parents/guardians; women seeking trading opportunities in construction; gap year students: retirees seeking MSME life in construction in Lagos.

Oba, visioner and Coordinator of ULDA was former UK diasporian, assembled the best of building and construction experts from UK, EU, Dubai, US and South African Diasporas to start one of Nigeria's cutting-edge construction company. 

He said the reason why the likes of Dubai are better is because they have a lots of skilled and quality manpower. 

"There are opportunities for the quality of life of the people to be improved, which is why ULDA is  translating skills to basic infrastructure in order to address the deficit in the construction industry". 

Speaking on ' Emigration Backup Job Plan', Gbola Oba emphazied that "even if you planned going abroad for greener pastures,  you need to have market ready skills that will make you relevant because the certificates you are bringing may not be useful to you. Learn to cook, very important; hair making, tiles laying etc if you even want to emigrate. You must have a skill set to make those who hate you smile at you". 

Dean of Faculty, ULDA, Engr. Babatunde Faleye, said aside from opportunities in Nigeria, there have been requests for skilled artisans from places like Dubai and Qatar. 

"Skilled is the greatest developmental aspect of any society. But my concern is that when graduates leave school, they are confused because there is no secured employment and the entrepreneurial environment in Nigeria is not favourable. On the other hand, 
artisans oftentimes see themselves as lesser than the average professional. That's why we introduced professional course upgrade" he said.

Speaking on Trading Opportunities for Women in Construction Industry, Mr. Yemi Oresanya, HOD, Domestic Plumbing said ULDA is at the forefront of removing the barriers in a male-dominated field by encouraging women to consider careers as welders, pipe fitters, carpentry, plumbing and other skilled professions in the construction industry.

"We are advocating for diversity within the construction trades to encourage more girls and  women to consider construction as a career option. The construction trades offer a wealth of career advantages to women in terms of high pay by selling building materials, plumbing materials, sands in bags, cement etc freedom, independence, career satisfaction, and opportunities for advancement".

He further state that as women gain experience, they can advance to leadership positions, such as trade school instructors, site supervisors, project managers etc.

"You’re not born with these skills, they’re learned, and that’s why it’s important to have women coming into the trades, so we can teach women apprentices how to do it, and set record for the new workforce as the first female plumper, first female welder etc in Nigeria.

Most of the times women are performing tasks and they don’t even realize they are performing those tasks. Again, the construction trades is suited for women with a positive attitude, strong work ethic who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty and who enjoy seeing a project go from start to finish. Won't you feel happy when you drive by a building later in life and say, I helped build that mansion?

The President, Chief (Engr.) Olawumi Gasper, who is a partner and   former Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) and former Lagos Polytechnic rector,  while speaking on Self Employment MSME Skills emphasized that  "we are using internationally experienced professionals to mentor trainees especially on engineering, which is a key programme to us and we are ready to ensure that Nigerian graduates are empowered and relevant for the building and construction industry. 

We want our unemployed youths to
hone their skills early enough so that job opportunity will be available to them thereby help Nigerian economy to maintain a competitive edge in an ever changing world and also ensure sustainable development growth as well".

The CEO of  Garutechnologies Nigeria Limited and Equipment Research Director, ULDA, who was recently appointed the General Manager to the ULDA sister company in Dubai,  Al Muhtaraf Alsataa Technical Services (AATS), Alhaji Lukman Garu, presently in United States of America for an important auto exhibition via call said aside from opportunities in Nigeria, there have been requests for skilled artisans and facility management personnel from Dubai and Qatar. 

"At ULDA, we are training a crop of skilled workforce who will be exposed to the best of modern engineering tools. The construction industry is growing without a commensurate growth in the capacity of competent skilled manpower" he said.

Multi talented fashion consultant and MC, Mr. Babs Michael Ogunola spoke extensively on skill acquisition,  development and entrepreneurship.

According to him the goal of skill acquisition is to help young people looking to be entrepreneurs or people looking to add a few more skills to improve themselves and develop skills that will in turn yield value to the society.

" A skill acquired man is a self-employed man who can never go hungry because the skill he acquired provides food for him/her on a daily basis. Unlike one who lacks skill will find it difficult to be self-employed because he/she has nothing to offer.

The need for skills acquisition such as construction, photography, bead making, intellectual skills, bag, shoe making, computer literacy, fashion design, makeup, catering etc helps the society not to depend on white collar jobs, help youth develop a positive attitude towards work and labour, enable youths to be self-reliant and independent thereby reducing poverty in the country".

Engr. Afolabi-Babarinsa Olusegun Lewis, CEO BIOS Properties and ULDA Director Investment; encouraged both the young and old to be skillful and also engaged participants on body stretching exercises during the short break.

The likes of great minds such as Engr. Ugochukwu Nto (Director International  Affairs of ULDA based in Dubai) also the lead facilitator of Site Engineering course; Mr Sam koya (Director International Relations  ( America and Europe),
Builder Bokini,(Technical Research Director) amongst others can not be over emphasized in terms of their contributions to the success story of the foremost construction trades institute in Nigeria. 

The Learn Direct Academia (ULDA) Limited, a consortium of professionals that facilitates skills training trades in vocations such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical, brickwork, plastering, tiling, site engineering, among others, is training secondary school leavers, polytechnic and university graduates, as well as unemployed youths for the building and construction industry.

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