For Pa Fawole Johnson Alade, there is no age too old to learn. The 76-year-old concrete and block craftsman from Igbogbo-Baiyeku Local Council Development Area (LCDA) makes the list of graduands churned out by the Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, in its up-skill programme for tradesmen and artisans in informal sector.
No fewer than 2,000 artisans from all traditional divisions of Lagos had their skills modernised and upgraded in the eight-week intensive training organised by Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the graduation ceremony held at LTV Blue Roof in Agidingbi, empowered all the trainees with technological tools and equipment to facilitate their transition into modern practice in their respective vocations.
The event also commemorated the yearly Tradesmen and Artisans’ Day.
The trainees were nominated for the capacity building programme by Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LASCOTA), the umbrella body for all traders’ associations in the State.
Sanwo-Olu said the Government embarked on the up-skilling and trade enhancement programme for the artisans, given the contributions of the informal sector to the State’s economic growth.
The Governor said the training was to equip the participants with contemporary skillset and tools in order to make them in tune with changing dynamics in their chosen vocations.
He said: “Our administration places premium on participatory governance, just as we strongly believe Government and private sector must work together to transform the State’s economy. It is not in doubt that technology and innovation are the bedrock of economic development. The transition from the agricultural age to the Industrial Age to the Digital Age has been underlined by waves of innovation that emerge to disrupt an established order and replace it with a new way of doing things.
“As a forward-looking Government, we cannot afford to ignore the rapid pace of change in the 21st century. Lagos’ artisans cannot afford to be left behind. It is our abiding commitment to ensuring that our Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) grow and flourish. This is why we are equipping our artisans with contemporary skills and incorporating technological innovation into their practice to stay in tune with emerging trends from around the world.”
To build a dynamic economy for the State, Sanwo-Olu said there was a need for optimisation of values provided by skilled workers, while also training the under-skilled segments of the workforce.
The Governor said his administration would continue to create enabling environment for artisans and tradesmen to thrive, promising continuous investment in programmes that would impact their lives and improve earnings from their crafts.
He said: “For the 2000 re-trained tradesmen and artisans who are graduating today, let me remind you that the strategic position of Lagos offers you limitless opportunities to achieve your dreams, as the State contributes a quarter of the national GDP, and is by extension the fifth largest economy in Africa. Your training has, therefore, been designed to provide you with the right mix of skills needed to service the rapidly growing industrial needs of our State.”
The state Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs. Yetunde Ariobeke, said the up-skill programme was part of the empowerment opportunities initiated by the Sanwo-Olu administration for residents in informal sector in which 4,500 had benefited.
She said the training was packaged with technical support from BOSCH Nigeria, which taught the participants on how to use various technological tools. The training and provision of equipment, the Commissioner said, are to address the challenge of obsoleteness of equipment at the disposal of artisans in the State.
“The informal sector is the engine that drives the economy. It, therefore, becomes imperative for Lagos artisans to work towards the realisation of a common purpose which is creating 21st century artisans for sustainable economic growth. In line with our mandate, we have continued to foster the creation of an enabling environment for our artisans through access to market, capital and capacity building by partnering with the private sector by way of impact investment,” Arobieke said.
President of LASCOTA, Mr. Nurudeen Buhari, said the capacity building would provide competitive advantage for the participants in the vocations, praising the Governor for the opportunity.
Buhari used the occasion to remind the Governor of the association’s request for secretariat and industrial skill centre for the artisans.
In response, Sanwo-Olu donated three hectares in Badagry to LASCOTA to build its secretariat and the industrial skill hub.
The best graduating artisan from the Ikorodu centre, Mr. Ariwoola Olagoke, an Estate Management technician, conveyed the participants’ appreciation to the State Government for the empowerment that also afforded them the opportunity to upgrade their skills.