The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) said it is currently training over 100 young people drawn from across Calabar South and Calabar Municipal local government areas of Cross River State in modern methods of electrical installations and maintenance.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the week-long training billed to run from October 24 to 28, 2022, in Calabar, the state capital, the executive vice chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna said the programme is the first phase of the skill development by the agency in the southernmost region of the country.
The training, he said, is a part of the implementation of a series of directives from President Muhammadu Buhari to the agency to ensure the development of skills of the nation’s teeming youths necessary for job creation and self-employment generation.
The NASENI boss posited that the training is to get the trainees familiar with current advances and emerging technologies in electrical installations, repairs and maintenance, as well as build their competencies adequately, to meet the challenges and opportunities of the development anticipates of the shape and nature of the next industrial revolution.
“Development in cutting edge technologies or frontier technologies as the innovations that are shaping the fourth industrial revolution is no doubt, disrupting many things and introducing constant changes and standards.
“The technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the internet of things (IoT), big data, block chain, additive manufacturing (3D printing), autonomous vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, gene editing, 5G network and smart grid and agitations for wireless electricity. Every aspect of human endeavour – agriculture, health, industry, transports, hospitality etc., require electricity, albeit well-advanced electric energy,” he said.
According to him, electrical installation, repairs and maintenance will no longer be [about] metre-conduiting, piping or trunking of cable channels and streaming overhead conductors. He said it is beyond the provision of lighting points and socket outlets but about automation, remote sensing, remote control and wireless operation.
Haruna stressed that the practitioners’ knowledge need regular updating to remain relevant and employable, remain so and create jobs for others. He added that the development of this skill is a key prerequisite for the development of a competent workforce for Nigeria.
Declaring the training open, the Cross River State governor, Sen. Benedict Ayade commended NASENI for the training and described it as one of the very important programmes the state-owned Construction and Fabrication Academy of West Africa aims to achieve.
Ayade averred that the edifice is a pointer to the administration’s commitment to the development of science and engineering infrastructure.
Represented by his deputy, Prof. Ivare Esu the governor urged the trainees to be pioneers in modern methods of electrical installations and maintenance in the state.
“I especially want to congratulate the 100 trainees who will be trained these few days in electrical installations. Make sure the starter packs are used for the purpose they were meant for. Pay close attention to the training because everything about electrical installations is there.
“We look forward to you being pioneers in these areas and training others. Please, do not fail us.”
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ochiglegor Idagbo pointed out the need for the country to look inwards and explore other options for engaging youths, especially with the rising challenge of unemployment.
“Today, when we are challenged and unemployment is increasing everyday, recent statistics show that [it is as high as] 42 per cent. If you look at the power to employ from both the Federal and state civil services, there is a limit to how many people they can employ, compared to the number of youths our universities churn out yearly. There is a need for us to begin to look to skill acquisition,” he said.
He commended NASENI for the initiative and tasked the trainees to be serious enough to look forward to excelling in their chosen profession.
In his goodwill message, a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, High Chief Edem Duke highlighted that the state has embarked on an eccentric desire for industrialisation and has broken the boundaries of some of the traditional assumptions and expectations by taking the initiative of establishing industries across the state.
“I try to marry this initiative of skills acquisition to the urgent, desperate need for those industries to be populated by properly trained, skilled workers who have acquired skills and training in the relevant sectors that will help to sustain these industries.
“To our beneficiaries who wil, at the end of this initiative, take up self-employment, it is an opportunity for you to stimulate micro-enterprises, especially in the rural parts of our state,” he added.
Giving the vote of thanks on behalf of other trainees, Ojong Ojong Ita, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, the NASENI management led by its executive vice chairman, the state government and lawmakers representing various constituencies in the state for collaborating to bring the training to fruition.
He promised that he and others will make the state and the nation proud by learning the appropriate skills to help them excel, adding the equipment would be put to good use for the benefit of the nation.
The trainees were presented with starter packs comprising a complete electrical toolbox, multi-metre tester, cordless drilling machine, leather gloves and other safety equipment.