Several studies on construction craft skills have identified a number of problems including ineffective training as responsible for shortages of craftsmen in the construction industry. In Nigeria, the problem of training craftsmen has been attributed to lack of a harmonised training framework. This research therefore examined existing training frameworks in craft skills training institutions and assessed the performance of the products of those institutions with a view to developing a harmonised framework for delivering effective training in Nigeria. 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 construction organisations. In the technical institutions, senior management staff that specialised in technical training were interviewed while in the construction organisations, both management staff and craftsmen were interviewed. A total of six (6) training institutions were identified from a list of accredited technical training institutions published by the National Board for Technical Education and interviews conducted. For the construction organisations, nine (9) large construction firms were selected using purposive sampling and interviews were done with a management staff and three (3) craftsmen in each firm. Data obtained from the interviews were subjected to conceptual content analysis. The results showed the existence of different frameworks 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 training construction craftsmen was developed which takes advantage of the strengths of the existing frameworks while minimising their weaknesses. The developed framework was validated using construction industry stakeholders. The study concludes that training of construction craftsmen can be delivered in a collaborative manner with all stakeholders in the construction industry performing roles based on their strategic advantage. It is recommended that sector specific technical training approach should be adopted and implemented in a collaborative manner for effective training; the developed framework for training of construction craftsmen should be adopted and implemented.




1.1 Background to the Study

The Construction Industry produces sky scrapers, roads, airports, ship yards, and several other structures. The production of these relies heavily on human and material resources. In terms of importance, Khalil and Lees (2006) ranked human resources higher than natural (material) and capital resources in both production and services process of an organisation. Additionally, Muya et al. (2006) argued that the quality of services offered by construction firms depend largely onthe quality of their workforce. Furthermore, of the workforce in the construction industry, the craft skills constitute the majority and execute most of the jobs because the industry is still manual labour intensive (Fellows et al., 2002). Regrettably, this class of human resource required by construction firms are in short supply in UK, Canada, USA, Asia and Africa (Agapiou et al., 1995a; Agapiou, 1998; Gann and Senker, 1998; Mckenzie, et al., 2000, Forde and MacKenzie, 2004; Datoegoem, 2006; Issam, 2006; McGuinness and Bannett, 2006; Muya et al., 2006; Chan and Dainty, 2007; Smith, 2009; Abdullahi, 2010; Kikwasi, 2011; Medugu et al., 2011).In order to make up for the shortfall in craft skills required in the construction industry, construction firms import craft skills from other countries or poach them from rival companies to improve their performance and out-play their competitors instead of training new ones (Agapiou et al., 1995a; Muya et al., 2006).