The Role Of Industrial Training On Secretaries (A Case Study Of Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri)

Project and Seminar Material for Office Technology and Management OTM

Project and Seminar Material for Office Technology and Management OTM


Abstract


This study is designed to determine the impact or rather the contributions which the students of office technology and management derive from the students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) and to investigate the hindrances if any, the students of office technology and management encounter in the course of gaining practical knowledge, pre qualification or pre-graduation experience and this has become an often quoted criteria for manpower selections as required by most employers. In keeping to this requirement, most employers search for persons who have had enough on-the-job experience to fill certain positions in the establishment.

In order to carry out the research, two major research questions were stated:

  1. What are the major impacts or contributions that students of office technology and management derive from the students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES)?
  2. What and what are the hindrances encountered by students of office technology and management in the course of gaining practical knowledge?

Some of the major findings of this research work include:

  1. Every institution should set up coordinating units as advised by the industrial training fund (ITF) so as to reduce the communication gap between the students and institutions.
  2. The induction/orientation of students should be organized to involve the institution, the industrial training fund (ITF) and employers. In that induction course, all information concerning the students must be made available to them.

Table Of Content


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One

Introduction

  • Background of the study
  • Statement of the problem
  • Purpose of the study
  • Research questions
  • Significance of the study
  • Scope of the study

Chapter Two

Review of Literature

  • Theoretical framework
  • The role of national bodies on SIWES
  • Challenges students encounter during industrial training
  • The relationship between ITF and secretarial administration
  • Summary

Chapter Three

Research Design and Methodology

  • Introduction
  • Research design
  • Area of study
  • Population of the study
  • Sample and sampling technique
  • Instrument for data collection
  • Procedure for data collection
  • Method of data analysis

Chapter Four

Results of Data Analysis


Chapter Five

Discussion of the Results and Summary of Report

  • Discussion on findings
  • Recommendations
  • Summary and conclusion
  • References
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the study

Industrial attachment is a system whereby a student before graduating is sent to an industry or a training centre to have practical experience on the job. It is either for a year, six months or two months depending on which categories of students are involved. At the training centre, only the practical aspect of the course is emphasized, that is, attention is paid to technical skill development.

In other words, industrial attachment as applied is to the undergraduate, a form of practical training in industry where the student is expected to acquire professional practical experience and scale in the activities of a particular industry or establishment and having a physical feeling of those things learnt in theory.

Industrial attachment as it is called today is the brain child of the industrial training fund (ITF) otherwise known as students” industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) which was introduced by the industrial training fund (ITF) since 1973.

According to Awan (1979), the industrial training fund (ITF) was established in Decree NO. 47 of 8th October 1971 with the aim of promoting and encouraging the acquisition of skills in industry and commerce with a view to generating a pool of indigenous trained manpower sufficient to meet the needs of the Nigerian economy.

Before the beginning of this scheme, various institutions made their own arrangement with industries or companies where their students go to have the practical experience to enable them match theory with practice. The pioneer of these private institutional arrangements was institute of management and technology (IMT), Enugu.

It was the first of the three manpower training and development agencies created by the Federal Military Government during the 2nd National Development plan period (1970-1974). The other bodies were the Nigerian count for management development (NCMD) and Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON). According to Ayoade (1994), the provision of the above decree which established the industrial training fund (ITF) empowered it among other things to

  • Encourage employer to train and retain their workers.
  • Provide facilities for industrial training in general.

It is in realization of this noble role that the industrial training fund in 1973 launched the students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES). The idea was to use facilities in industry and commerce to supplement institutional education and training, because of huge financial burden which this scheme placed on ITF, the fund in 1979 decided after due consideration to terminate the scheme. This decision was without prejudice to the consequences of their action on the students and their staff who had already seen the scheme as the only hope of preparing students very meaningfully for the work.

In order to sustain the expectation of the students and the need for manpower development in the nation, the federal military government continued to fund this scheme from 1980 to 1984 through the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE). The supervision of the scheme was once more passed over to the industrial training fund in 1985, while the funding remained the responsibility of the federal Government.

The scope of the fund left with administrative functions is limited to colleges of technology and education, university of technology and polytechnics all over the nation.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

The need for work experience has become an often mentioned criterion for man power selection as required by all employers. Evidence has shown that students on industrial training come back to complain adversely on the lag existing between industrial experience or practical aspect of their studies with what is obtainable in the classroom, and the need to fill this gap is inevitable if the required manpower needed or expected of our students in office technology and management should be acquired and harnessed.

This calls for the need for our curriculum planners and implementers to look into the problem which the students encounter while in industrial training so that there will be a similar relationship with what is obtained in theory and that obtainable in their practical experience.

Therefore, efforts should be made by lecturers handling most of these courses like shorthand, keyboarding, office practice, e.e.d, and i.c.t and other management courses etc to see that the students will not mess themselves up while in their industrial training.


1.3 Purpose Of The Study

The main purpose of this study is to:

  1. Ascertain the role of industrial training in office technology and management.
  2. Examine the strength and weaknesses of the program which warrants its continuation.
  3. Find out whether coordinating units are established in the institution and if they are functioning well.
  4. To ascertain whether the employers accept all the students for industrial attachment as stipulated in ITF Decree NO 47 as amended in 1990.
  5. Find out whether students involved are given orientation course prior to their attachment.

The students will in no small measure intensify and identify the various aims and objectives of the program and make necessary recommendations based on the findings.


1.4 Research Questions

For the purpose of this study, the following research questions have been formulated;

  1. What are the major benefits that students of office technology and management derive from students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES)?
  2. What are the strength and weaknesses of the program?
  3. What is the role of supervision and observation during the SIWES program?
  4. Is improper orientation before the program a factor that leads to lots of mistakes on the part of the student during the program?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

This research project will be useful to the students, Government and business houses in general.
It is expected that the study will provide data on the benefits, problems associated with industrial attachment and recommend possible solutions to this problems. The information should be useful to industries that show negative attitudes towards the program thereby making it easier for the students to secure attachment. Also to highlight to the students the expected relationship that should exist between them and the business houses.

This study will also be helpful to lecturers in office technology and management and other management studies that produce students for IT to have focus on the current development in the industries so that students experience in the classroom will be in line with what they will see as the practical aspect of their studies.

Government agents and agencies can still make use of this work to advise industries on the need to be fully involved in this program and ensure that the aim of this program is not just a mere written aim but an achieved aim if the need for man power development should rule the day.

Other readers and researchers in office technology and management will also find this work useful when they will need to do further research work on industrial training program which will serve as a word of encouragement to students of office technology and management during their IT and also a motivator in those taking active part in training and job inter play.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

For the purpose of this study, the federal polytechnic Nekede Owerri has been deemed most suitable for this study because the school holds a large number of students who are sent out on industrial attachment yearly.

There are about thirty three (33) departments in this institution, but this research work has been restricted to the department of office technology and management (O.T.M)

Choosing the federal polytechnic Nekede Owerri and the department of office technology and management covers the fact that what is obtainable here so far is the same as can be obtained in other institutions and departments engaged in the students’ industrial work experience scheme and therefore can make for generalizability.

Also the financial involvement and time constraint are factors which were highly considered in the course of executing this research work.


Chapter Five


Discussion Of Findings And Summary Of Report

5.1 Discussion of Finding

The first research question sought to find out whether the students industrial work experience scheme contributes to the practical development of the office technology and management students.

Findings show that students industrial work experience scheme SIWES contributed the practical development of office technology and management students, this evidence was proved in table 1 where 90% of the respondent agreed on this issue. This is supported by the opinion of Obiazi (1984:28) in chapter two who believed that the industrial attachment was a great effort on the part of the Nigerian universities to produce well based proficient and skilled graduates who can produce devices and machines especially in the engineering field.

The second research question which seeks to find out whether proper and adequate equipment during the students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) program leads to the attainment of the trainee educational objectives. The findings have shown that it leads to the attainment of the trainee educational objectives since 96.7% of the respondents agreed on the issue.

This is supported by Nwosu (1997:5) who views that:

“Coupled with this lack of facilities in some establishment with lack of competent training officers, it is quite clear that students attached to places like these can stay whole period without gaining anything useful. This is because they can fumble on trying to apply to much theory that they know to practical problems with very little or no success without any guidance and direction……”

The third research question seeks to find whether students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) exposes the students to the realities of the business world. Findings revealed that SIWES exposes students to the real world of business since 83.3% agreed that it exposes students to the realities of the business world and this is consisted with the view of Ayoade (1994:2) who noted that “SIWES offers an opportunity for students to interact with workers of various cades in industries and this interaction increase their understanding of the job and functions of these professional staff.”

Findings also show that lack of close observation and supervision during the students’ industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) leads to waste of time and unnecessary expenditure by the students. This is the period in table IV where 56.7% agreed on this issue. This is supported by Aluo (1988:4) when he said that some colleges do not even care to send supervisors to inspect their students if the places where the students are located are far. The industrial attachment scheme has been abused the more by the fact that there are students who do not even care where they are attaching themselves. A student, who is studying engineering for instance, might attach himself with any advertizing firm so far the firm agrees to give him some allowance.

The fifth research question, seeks to find out whether the duration of the students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) program is adequate for the acquisition of practical knowledge. The findings have shown that the duration is not enough since 40% of the respondents disagreed on the duration.

The sixth research question seeks to know whether proper exposure of office technology and management students to the business world is as a result of the students’ industrial work experience scheme. Findings revealed that proper exposure of office technology and management students to the business world is as a result of SIWES since 58.3% of the respondent agreed. This is supported by Ilo (1991:3) who stated in chapter two that it is on record that every eligible student in this country has benefited from the scheme and thus trends seems to be on the increase. This is because the number of participating institutions is on the increase resulting in the increase in numbers of participating students. The multiplier effect of the scheme includes improved performance of our young graduates in various places of employment as well as the d it yourself culture which is gaining grounds very fast among the youth, especially graduates of institutions of higher learning.

Table VII shows that students industrial work experience scheme SIWES enhances job acquisition of office technology and management students after school. This is exemplified by 65% of the respondents who agreed.
Table VIII shows that suitable equipment leads to efficiency, creativity and industriousness n the part of the trainee since 96.7% agreed on the issue.

In table IX, when respondents were asked whether it is better for the students to chose whether to do their SIWES program than to be posted by the school. Findings show that it is better that way than to be posted by the school since 70 % agreed on this issue, but this is not consistent with the opinion of Awan (1974:4) who opined that it is better for the student to be posted by the school than for the students to choose for themselves.

Findings also show that students are not accepted in every organization where they are posted for the SIWES program, this is consistent with the view of Obiazi (1984:28) and Nwosu (1981:5). In their statement, Obiazi maintained that the attitude of companies to the students on industrial training is an issue that should be given serious consideration. Some companies especially foreign owned companies do not like to accept students for industrial training giving all kinds of frivolous excuses while some make life difficult for industrial attachment students. According to Nwosu “the problem of ITF is non acceptance of the students by the company to which they are posted to.”

The eleventh research question seeks to know whether lack of cooperation between the student trainee and the employer of the organization leads to poor performance by the students. Findings have shown that lack of cooperation leads to poor performance since 83% of the respondents agreed to this issue.

Table XII shows that inadequate instruction before the program exposes the trainees to lots of mistakes during the program, since 70% agreed. This is supported by Iroegbu (1984:5) who stated in chapter two where he maintained that most students totally misuse the period and some of them see it first as a money making time while others see it as time to relax and indulge in other businesses.


5.2 Recommendations

A number of influences have been synthesized by the analysis in chapter four, also the views of numbers of writers have also been reviewed and as a reflection of these the following recommendations are given:

  1. Every institution should set up coordinating units as advised by the industrial training fund so as to reduce the communication gap between the students and the institutions.
  2. The induction/orientation of students should be organized to involve the institutions, the ITF and the employers in that field, all information concerning the students should be made available.
  3. The logbooks issued to students at attachment by institutions should be properly supervised by the supervisors responsible during supervision and not in their offices after or at the end of the attachment.
  4. Lecturers should be involved in this program, since some students come back to their institution complaining that the practical aspect of the study is not totally in line with the theory aspect of study.
  5. Government should ensure to provide students with modern technological equipments that are obtainable in most of our industries so that students will not be novices to the use of these equipments.
  6. While students are going through this program to enhance their academic standards and get ready for the world of business, lecturers handling key courses in office technology and management should as well undergo orientation or research and attend workshops and seminars to keep themselves abreast of current trends in the world of business so that what they will be teaching in class will be in line with the practical aspect of the course so that the students will not be embarrassed whenever they go on industrial training programs.
  7. The federal government should refer to Decree No. 47 section 7A (1) (b) and section 7(A) (2) and fine any ministry, company or parastatal that fails to offer students places for industrial attachment.

5.3 Summary and Conclusion

The objective of this study is to highlight the impact or contributions that students from office technology and management derive from the students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES), the strength and weaknesses of the program that warrants its continuation. In doing this, the researchers have in mind certain limitations that would make it impossible to cover all schools in the country and thus the federal polytechnic Nekede Owerri was chosen amongst others.

In order to gather data, twelve questions were produced and dispatched to sixty students from the department of office technology and management, the information gathered were tallied and converted into percentage from which inferences and conclusions were made.

It is however obvious that student’s industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) has helped the office technology and management students in many ways especially in the attainment of their educational objectives, acquisition of practical knowledge and job acquisition. It will also lead to efficiency, creativity and industriousness on the part of the students.

Solving the problem of skills acquisition of graduates in Nigeria’s technical and vocational education is a reason for the establishment of SIWES, it was planned to be a bridge between educational institutions and industrial employers with the latter providing general and specific occupational skills and knowledge. This research indicates that the SIWES objectives are being achieved, although there are some constraints such as lack of industrial type equipment. Incompetence in work place is related to the kind of quality of training in the school. To improve on the schemes implementation, students should be placed in industries relevant to the fields of study. There is need for greater co-operation between industries and educational institutions on how best to implement the SIWES program. It can thus be considered that in spite of apparent economic difficulties, the SIWES in Nigeria universities are attaining its objectives; and that the industrial experience in real setting is very necessary if the attachment of SIWES objectives will be fully realized because it offers the students learning experiences which cannot be directly gained in the classroom.

Therefore, in order to evaluate or measure the outcome of SIWES at the planning stage, it must be clearly stated what constitutes an acceptable work experience for every course or trade. The industrial training fund (ITF) should as a matter of fact annually publish their review and study of the progress of SIWES. Such studies may use opinion polls of parents, employers, students and graduates. The school workshops and laboratories should be well equipped with similar industrial outfits to provide good background for successful industrial experience. Furthermore, industrial and business organizations with more than 25 employees as stipulated in section 6 of Decree No. 47 of 1971 should be statutorily required to pay at least 10% of annual profit to ITF to improve its financial position. For effective supervision of the program, qualified and full time coordinators with good public relation skills should be employed by the institutions, this will improve the degree of cooperation between industries and schools. In the light of the above findings, it is conclusive that industrial and practical experience program are a valuable and enriched integral part of an effective office technology and management curriculum.


The Role Of Industrial Training On Secretaries (A Case Study Of Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri)


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