ASSESSMENT OF THE TRAINING NEEDS OF CRAFT SKILL WORKERS IN NORTH-WESTERN NIGERIA
Training of construction craftsmen in the Nigeria construction industry which should have enhanced productivity and competitiveness has suffered a lot. This study assessed craft skills training needs in the North-western Nigeria. The objectives of the study included identifying general and specific craft skill training need, extent of the need, militating factors against craft skill training and effective training methods. Purposive sampling technique was used in administering questionnaires (140) to professionals (40) and some selected craftsmen (100) within small, medium and large construction companies in the North- western Nigeria. Questionnaire survey was used to collect data from craftsmen on site and professionals that are directly involved in building production. Mean score and standard deviation of each item was determined and ranked accordingly. SPSS version 16.0 was used in this analysis. The study revealed that, lack of assessing worker‟s training needs prior to training program has a mean score of (3.308), lack of adequate tools / equipment has (3.189) and high cost of training has (3.126), and these were ranked high among the major factors militating against craft skill training. Understanding drawing has a mean score of (3.304), basic safety has (3.284) and multi skilling has (3.170), and these were among the training areas that should be given higher priority in training craftsmen under study. For effective craftsmen training methods, the result shows, traditional apprenticeship training has a mean score of (3.304), practical demonstration has (3.018) and on the job training has (2.996). It was concluded that assessment of craft skill training need is an important strategy through which construction companies identified and respond to their training areas in their respective companies. It was recommended that master craftsmen (foremen) should be encouraged and supported to train craftsmen on site.
1.1 Background of the Study
The construction industry is the sector of the economy that plans, designs, constructs, alters, refurbishes, maintains, repairs and eventually demolishes buildings of all kinds (Jaggar, and Smith 2000). Construction industry in Nigeria is built on a foundation of skill craft workers who are primarily supplied through various sources such as craft training institutions, vocational or technical colleges, on the job training and apprenticeship (Yakubu, 2003). Ubenyi (1999) and Anigbogu (2002) opined that the labour-intensive nature of construction activities in Nigeria was attributed to the predominance of large number of small-scale construction firms that rely solely on skilled and unskilled labour for their operations.
Some studies (Obiegbu, 2002; Bokinni, 2005 and Njoku, 2007) have indicated the existence of shortages of quality craftsmen in the Nigerian construction industry. Some of the root causes of the shortages are as follows; aging of skilled craft workers in the industry, decline in the number of new entrants into skilled trades, poor funding and ineffective state of vocational education and training system in the country. Other causes include poor image associated with construction labour as work done by less intelligent people, lack of commitment by government and the construction industry toward training and development.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines training as “practical education in any profession, art or craft”. Ying, et al. (2008) also defines training as identifying, assuring and helping to develop the key competencies that enable individuals to perform current or future jobs. Training in this context, is seen as an activity which is concerned with making employees more articulate and efficient in the performance of their current tasks.