The Role Of Vocational Training In Bridging Skill Gap In The Building Industry Of Nigeria
Several studies on building craft skills have identified a number of problems including ineffective training as responsible for shortages of craftsmen in the building industry. Largely qualitative approach was adopted in conducting the research. Detailed literature review on training of craftsmen led to the development of a semi-structured interview guide which was used in conducting interviews in technical training institutions and building organisations. In the technical institutions, senior management staff that specialised in technical training were interviewed while in the building organisations, both management staff and craftsmen were interviewed. The results showed the existence of different Framework for bridging skill gaps in each training institution with similarities, strengths and weaknesses. Other findings include the absence of direct collaboration between institutions and industry in delivering training; industrial training is poorly organised, supervised and the duration is inadequate; lack of prearrangement for the conduct of industrial training; training delivery is generic in most institutions regardless of the specific requirement of industries. Consequently, from the findings of the study, a harmonised Framework for bridging skill gap for training building craftsmen was developed which takes advantage of the strengths of the existing Framework for bridging skill gaps while minimising their weaknesses. The developed Framework for bridging skill gap was validated using building industry stakeholders. The study concludes that training of building craftsmen can be delivered in a collaborative manner with all stakeholders in the building industry performing roles based on their strategic advantage. It is recommended that sector specific technical training approach should be adopted and implemented n a collaborative manner for effective training; the developed Framework for bridging skill gap for training of building craftsmen should be adopted and implemented.
1.1 Background to the Study
Skills are what an individual possesses which may be learnt informally and/or on-the-job. Skill Gap is the difference in the skills required on the job and the actual skills possessed by the staff. A Skills Gap arises when a worker does not have all the skills necessary to do the job effectively. Therefore, skills gaps refer to the situation where an industry has workers but they are not skilled enough to meet the organizations’ objectives (Jean, 2003).
The building industry is growing but it seems the stock of competent skilled construction workers has dwindled (Odusami & Ene, 2011). A skill gap is the shortage in performance. It is the difference between what is required or expected and what we actually get. Put in another way a skill gap is the required performance minus the present performance. Hence it is also called the performance gap. Basically, a skills gap or performance gap is the difference between the actual or present performance and the optimal or future performance.
Vocational training is an educational training which encompasses knowledge, skills, competencies, structural activities, abilities, capabilities and all other structural experiences acquired through formal, on-the-job or off-the job which is capable of enhancing recipients opportunity for securing jobs in various sector of the economy or even enabling the person to be self-dependent by being a job creator. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) opined that vocational training is an aspect of the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relative to occupations in the building sector.
Manfred and Jennifer (2004) advocated that vocational training comprises all more or less organized or structured activities that aim at providing people with the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to perform a job or a set of jobs whether or not they lead to a formal qualification. These definitions show that the relationship between vocational training and skill development towards a sustainable building industry in Nigeria. Common indicators of Skills issues are poor workmanship and building failure. Nigerian cities with the exception of the enclave of the rich and powerful are characterized by poor quality structures, poor layout and streets access, lack of essential utility services, inadequate security, and social services (Alemika, 2010).
Apparently, deficiencies exist between the skills of vocational workers and those required to meet the needs and expectations of employers in the Building sector which prompt the researcher to examine the role of vocational training in bridging the skill gap that exist in building industry in Nigeria. The skill gap in the Nigeria building industry can be attributed to the dwindling stock of competent skilled construction workers and the influx of unskilled, inefficient and dissatisfied workers who see the building sector as a last resort (ITF, 2014).
Adequate and effective vocational training in Nigeria can meet the highly skilled human resource need in the Nigerian building industry. Skill needs in building sector includes building drawing skills, surveying, landscaping and site preparation skills, foundation skills, ability to use machines for construction, ability to use hand tools for practical work, brick and block laying skills, roofing skills, masonry skills in building, concreting and reinforcement skills, carpentry and joinery skills, final finishes skills and plumbing skills. In recent times, the government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has shown concern about the present dearth of skilled artisans and craftsmen in the building construction industry. They asserted that artisans and craftsmen constitute an important component of the value chain in housing delivery and essential for the production of well-built, good quality and durable housing on a greater scale across the country.
The ministry is using two vocational training centres located in Lagos state to upgrade the skills of this category of tradesmen. The ministry recently completed the renovation and upgrading of its facilities at the Harvey road, Yaba-Lagos training centre and a school of Architectural and Building Technicians is being constructed in Kuje, in the FCT. Efforts are being made by the Nigeria Federal government to establish six more skills acquisition/ vocational training centres in different parts of the country, as well as undertake a review of the curricula for artisan and vocational training in conjunction with relevant institutions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Apart from skill obsolescence that occurs over time in the Nigerian building industry, there are other factors that cause skill gaps which an effective vocational training would have curtailed. A major factor is the changing pattern of working in building industry. The current trends in the world of work such as globalization, commercialization, flexi-hour, deregulation, outsourcing, contract work, homework and freelancing have led to marked changes in industry structure. New definition, new meaning, and new application of knowledge drive all these changes.
New forms of work structures which are flexible, adaptable, less hierarchical, and multi-skilled and which encourage continuous learning are becoming sources of competitive advantage in the building industry. International competition for jobs and workers has also intensified, leading to the global talent hunt for innovation-driven knowledge workers. However, the researcher is examining the role of vocational training in bridging these skill gaps that exists in the Nigerian building industry.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the role of vocational training in bridging the skill gap that existed in Nigerian building industry.
- To identify the skill gaps in the Nigerian building industry.
- To examine the effectiveness and adequacy of vocational training in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the role of vocational training in bridging the skill gap that existed in Nigerian building industry?
- What are the skill gaps in the Nigerian building industry?
- What is the effectiveness and adequacy of vocational training in Nigeria?
- HO: Vocational training has not bridge the skill gap in Nigeria building industry.
- HA: Vocational training has bridge the skill gap in Nigeria building industry.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this study will educate the general public, government and policy makers on the level of vocational training in Nigeria and also the skill gaps that existed in the Nigeria building industry considering the role of vocational training.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 Scope / Limitations of the Study
This study on the role of vocational training in bridging skill gap in the building industry in Nigeria will cover the successes and failure of buildings and other structures in Nigeria has a reference in ascertaining the level of competency of Nigeria builders. It will also cover the structure of vocational training in Nigeria.
Limitation of Study
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The ability to do something well; expertise.
The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behaviour.
A regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified.
Conclusion and Recommendations
This research evaluates existing Framework for bridging skill gaps for training craft skills in Nigeria and found that different methodologies are used by technical institutions to train technical workers, there is generally no collaboration between industry and institutions to train craftsmen which has resulted in mismatch between industry need and the training delivered in institutions. The study further assessed the performance of craftsmen in the industry and found that craftsmen are largely lacking in practical skills but have adequate general education. Employers of craft skills suggested that emphasis should be on acquisition of hands-on skills and trade focused theory instead of general education. Finally the study concludes that technical training should be delivered in a collaborative manner, utilizing the strengths of one party to complement the weaknesses of the other in order to address the mismatch that existed between industry need and institution‟s training. Based on the identified strengths and weaknesses of the existing Framework for bridging skill gaps and the suggestions of stakeholders, a unified Framework for bridging skill gap for training building craft skills was developed and evaluated.
- In order to address issues that are peculiar to building industry, a sector specific technical training institutions that will emphasise training of skills workmen should be established.
- The proposed Framework for bridging skill gap for training of building craftsmen should be adopted and policy drafted for its implementation in Nigeria.
- To address the problem of mismatch between training in technical institutions and requirements of industry, there is need to deliver technical training in a collaborative manner through the establishment of stakeholder group such as Sector Skills Council (SSC) in UK and the sector skills councils in the recently approved NVQF.
- List of building trades in technical institutions should be updated to capture more trades like scaffolding, formwork, plant operation and maintenance.
- Arrangement should be made for trainers in technical institutions to regularly update their skills in the industry.
- Industrial training aspect of technical training should be emphasised and strengthened through collaboration between institutions and industry for identification, assessment, listing and direct placement of trainees in organisations to acquire industry experience.
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