As part of strategic moves to bridge the skill gap in the housing sector, Lagos State has commenced a comprehensive training project targeted at artisans and craftsmen in the sector.
The skill acquisition programme, tagged “Master Craftsman Training Programme”, commenced on 19th August 2023. It is to enable residents of the state, mainly the youth in the construction sector, to update their skills and acquire other competencies that will make them more employable. The ultimate goal is to improve their economic well-being.
According to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Mr. Kamar Olowoshago, the intensive training, which is for six weeks, is a weekend programme that will be centred on critical construction trades.
These include electrical installation and maintenance works, painting and decorating, plumbing and pipe-fitting, carpentry and furniture making and masonry (block laying and concreting).
There will also be classes on connected areas such as customer relations, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and health and safety. The training will be conducted by experts in the field who will train and retrain participants based on current trends in the industry.
Locations of the programme include Ikotun in Alimosho Local Government Area and Ikorodu in Ikorodu Local Government Area. The opportunity is open to residents that are above 18 years.
Applicants must have evidence of being registered with the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency. They must also have basic training in the skills, either in technical colleges or through the informal apprenticeship method.
The selection process will be based on timeliness. Forms can be obtained at the Director of Administration and Human Resources Office, Ministry of Housing, Lagos State.
Each certified master craftsman with over 70% attendance will receive certification from a notable professional institute, empowerment with modern tools of their trade, work gears and stipends from the state government.
Participants are advised to prepare for comprehensive practical and theoretical sessions during the training. It must, however, be stressed that the trainees will be fully insured during the entire training period in the unlikely incident of hazards or dangers during the practical sessions.
This initiative, by the Governor of the State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is in addition to other steps being taken to ensure increase in safe and decent homes for Lagosians. With the inauguration of over 22 new homes across the State by the Sanwo-Olu administration, the past four years have, no doubt, brought about vibrant activities in the sector.
In order to consolidate on the gains of the past, housing projects inherited from past administrations were completed and commissioned. Suffice to say that through this strategy, unwarranted wastage, which would have resulted from continued abandonment of such housing projects, was curtailed.
In this category, there were 15 budgetary allocation housing schemes, comprising over 5000 home units at various locations in the state at different levels of completion. Some of the scheme sites are Igando, Igbogbo, Ibeshe, Odo Onosa/Ayandelu, Agbowa, Sangotedo, Egan-Igando, LASU main Campus, Iba, Ajara, and Epe to mention a few. It gladdens the heart to note that over 95% of these schemes are completed now. They are now livable cities with enviable community life.
Sanwo-Olu also activated the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) schemes, which were already in existence. There were over 30 private investors who were in joint partnership with the state in developing some housing schemes.
The involvement of the private sector in increasing the state’s housing stock is crucial. It helps in reducing direct governmental expenditure, thereby releasing more funds for bridging other infrastructural gaps. Some of such projects are located at Idale in Badagry, Lekki, Iponri, Ibeshe, Owutu, Ijora, Ipaja and Ajegunle.
Over 70% of these schemes have been completed and delivered, while more have also been initiated at Abraham Adesanya Estate, Ajah. New collaborations were also brokered with viable partners, particularly those with innovative building technology.
Through the various efforts of the Sanwo-Olu administration, 19 housing schemes have been completed. These include Lateef Kayode Jakande Estate in Igando, Courtland Luxury Villa, Igbokushu and Lekki Apartments (both through the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation) and Prince Abiodun Ogunleye Housing Estate, Igbogbo.
Others are Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme Idale-Badagry, Babatunde Raji Fashola Estate, Iponri and LagosHOMS Lekki Phase 2 Estate in Eti-Osa Local Government Area.
Also in the list are LagosHOMS Sangotedo Phase1 in Eti-Osa East LCDA, LagosHOMS Odo-Onosa /Ayandelu in Ikosi-Ejinrin LCDA, Lagos State Resettlement Centre, Agbowa and Babatunde Olushola Benson Housing Estate, Ibeshe. Others in the wing are Ndubuisi Kanu Estate, Gbagada, and LagosHOMS Egan-Igando (Phase 1).
Equally, more schemes in Sangotedo Phase II, LASU, Iba, Epe Housing Scheme Itamarun- Epe and LagosHOMS Ajara- Badagry are to be added in due course.
Others that are in progress under Joint Venture Scheme include Ilubirin Foreshore Housing Scheme, Ilubirin, Lagos State Housing Scheme, Ijora-Badia, Lagos State Public Housing Scheme, Ilamoye in Oshodi-Isolo LGA, Abraham Adesanya Housing Estate, Eti-Osa LGA. (Parcel A, B, C & D).
Other Joint Venture Schemes by the LSDPC include Akanimodo, Iconic Towers Sinari Daranijo, Victoria Island, Channel Point Apartments at Sinari Daranijo, Victoria Island, The Avenue Ogudu Scheme II, Court LSDPC Ogudu Scheme II, and Ivy Suite Ilupeju Gardens at Esther Osiyemi Street Ilupeju, Sura Mogaji Terraces, Ilupeju, Keffi Suites Keffi, Ikoyi, and Love Garden Apartments, Olorogun/Allen Way, Ilupeju.
Over 21,700 direct employment opportunities were also generated at all work sites. Unsurprisingly, the State Governor has received several awards for the giant strides of his administration in the housing sector. Among others, he was duly recognised as the Housing Governor of the Federation, an honour which many believe he actually deserves.
It is, therefore, in order to further consolidate the gains of the government in the sector that ‘Master Builder Training’ was conceived. The programme is, thus, quite crucial to the State’s policy of building decent homes for the citizens under the pillar of Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy as articulated the T.H.E.M.E.S Plus Agenda of the Sanwo-Olu administration.
This is being done with the aim of making our artisans more qualified so that they can contribute their quota to the housing development efforts of the State.
It has been discovered that developers prefer to engage artisans from the neighbouring countries because they are perceived to be more skilful and precise. Therefore, non-employability of the artisans has been a major source of concern in the State’s quest to further boost the housing sector. The artisan training is, thus, perceived as an indirect way of improving the economy both on micro and macro levels.
No doubt, a skilled labour force is germane for the speedy completion of safer homes for the people. To this end, it is expected that the training will help address the ugly challenge of building collapse and other emergencies at construction sites.
Shelter is a crucial need of humans. The State is facing unending population growth, roughly put at 3.63% in 2023 from 3.44 % in 2020. This has made available decent homes to be inadequate. This particularly affects the low and medium income earners.
The government’s intervention has made a significant impact and more is still being done. With subsidized homes built by the government in decent environments, more Lagosians can now boast of decent shelter.
*Salako is Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Housing, Alausa, Ikeja.