The Lagos State government conducted a graduation ceremony for 200 artisans under its Master Craftsman Training Programme, aimed at addressing the shortage of skilled middle-level workers in the construction sector. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mr. Akinyemi Ajigbotafe, the Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, emphasised the significance of this initiative in closing the skills gap in the construction industry.
Governor Sanwo-Olu noted that this training would empower artisans and craftsmen, ultimately contributing to the provision of sustainable, decent, and affordable housing projects in the state. He stated that this endeavour was groundbreaking, explaining, “This is the first of its kind in Nigeria and part of our commitment to uplifting our youths and growing the housing value chain.”
The governor highlighted the importance of promoting local content and developing skills in areas such as masonry, furniture and carpentry, plumbing and pipe fitting, electrical installation and maintenance, and painting and decoration. These skills are integral to driving the state’s sustainable and affordable housing projects, and the beneficiaries would be added to an existing database, further enhancing their recognition on the state government’s website.
Governor Sanwo-Olu expressed his dedication to youth empowerment and the growth of the informal sector, announcing plans to create additional training centres for more artisans in subsequent phases. His objective is to bridge the over 15,000 skills gap in the construction sector and stimulate sustainable and affordable housing projects in Lagos.
He added that the artisans were not only graduating but were also being provided with the necessary tools to apply the skills they acquired during the intensive training, facilitated by qualified and certified trainers. He congratulated the beneficiaries and encouraged them to positively impact their lives and society through their newly acquired skills.
Mr. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, the Commissioner for Housing, highlighted the significance of the housing sector in Governor Sanwo-Olu’s THEMES Plus Agenda, particularly the goal of bridging the shelter gap. He described the comprehensive six-week training, which combined theoretical and practical elements to equip participants with contemporary concepts, techniques, practices, and approaches in the sector.
Mr. Akinderu-Fatai emphasised that the initiative aimed to consolidate the state government’s efforts in providing safe and sustainable housing projects, thus contributing to the eradication of the global housing deficit. The training syllabus of the Master Craftsman program was approved by relevant authorities, making the certification acceptable both locally and globally.
He encouraged the graduates to be worthy ambassadors of the government and to apply best standards and practices in their work. Ms. Moronke Azeez, the Executive Secretary of LASTVEB, warned against working with untrained individuals, as they often delivered subpar services, and emphasised the importance of upholding high construction standards.
Mr. Ege Adebisi, Chairman of the House Committee on Housing in the Lagos State House of Assembly, commended the training programme for instilling confidence in the beneficiaries. He urged them to preserve their craft and maintain the high-quality standards learned during the training.
During the ceremony, outstanding artisans and craftsmen across various fields received awards, and all participants were presented with work tools and kits.