Safety Advocacy Train on the Move
Hundreds of young Nigerians graduate from the universities and other tertiary institutions annually. It is estimated that Nigeria’s close to 100 universities, churn out about 500,000 graduates altogether every year. Ideally, employers should have it easy, picking the best from this steady stream of graduates and there should be no dearth of high-quality recruits.
The situation is different and employers are not picking from a pool of bright minds. They complain that many of the graduates lack employability skills. Many are quick to blame the students for not developing themselves for the job market whilst still in school. They blame such students for being so focused on getting high grades that they possess only head knowledge and no hands on skills at all. On the other hand, some employers put the blame on the government and the educational system in the country. They blame the government and other school owners for not providing essential infrastructures for the students to try their hands on. But many Nigerian graduates maintain that they have done their best possible to get the most from the educational system and beyond. Many even run professional courses concurrently with their University, polytechnic or college of education programs in order to beat the skill gap claims by most employers. While some of the students scaled through, others still end up being labelled “unemployable”.
The blame game does not give anyone jobs so Lafarge chose to act. Lafarge Africa trained 400 and 500 Level students of the Department of Building, Federal University of Technology, Minna on cement applications and construction safety between 28th February, 2018 to 1st March, 2018. For Lafarge, the real solution to the skill gap menace can only come from integrated actions by both the schools and employers in every industry requiring graduate recruits. The school authority was impressed by the move.
There were also sessions on the best onsite safety practices such as deployment of safety signages as well as procedures for reporting and responding to incidents. Where is the next stop for the Lafarge Safety Train? Stay tuned.
“This rare opportunity will no doubt expand the horizon of these students wherever they found themselves in the construction industry,” the Head of Department, Building, FUT Minna, Dr R.A. Jimoh wrote in an appreciation letter to Lafarge. The organisation not only targets students, but workers as well for refresher trainings. Last year, Lafarge Africa Plc facilitated a safety training programme for 100 employees of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in Lagos. Engineers and nurses of the Chinese construction company from across its project sites in Nigeria attended the training. Shortly after that, the Safety Advocacy train of Lafarge moved to Otta in Ogun state where it partnered with Canaancity Consortium, an association of indigenous and foreign companies to train 200 engineers, technicians and other operational employees on safety and management of risk related to their construction work. Health workers were trained on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies.