Abuja (Federal Ministry of Power Report) – The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo has said that the stage is set for the flag-off ceremony of the National Power- Sector Apprenticeship Scheme, indicating that the initiative was conceived as a matter of necessity to help bridge the technical gap of its workforce.
While speaking to newsmen on Wednesday November 5, 2014 as part of the pre-event activities, the Minister noted that when he assumed duty as Minister, he discovered a near hopeless situation on the technical side of the sector with over 16 years of non-engagement of engineers and dying, sick and incapacitated workers existing in the sector, there was no hope of replacement with competent hands. “The implication of this ugly development was to hand over to the private sector a totally deficient and incapacitated work force that would not deliver the mandate handed down to us by Mr. President to ensure uninterrupted power supply nation-wide,” he said.
“Hence we conceived this scheme to train artisans, filters, machinists, linesmen, sub-station operators and joineries. These artisan staff will now be ready as driving force of young men and women to take the power sector to higher heights. We are desirous to build a robust sector. These individuals drawn from across the country will undergo intensive training between 6 months and one year and during this time, they would be paid a stipend.”
When asked if the proposed scheme is in conflict with the ongoing scheme of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), the Minister explained that the present scheme is not for engineers but for the lower level positions which require entry certifications such as School Certificate, Ordinary Diploma and Higher Diploma. ‘The idea , he said is to give them the training that will enable them acquire skills as artisans, become marketable as entrepreneurs able to set up their businesses and employing other people.’
The issue of whether or not the fact some persons could be attracted to the scheme because of the promised stipend of eighteen thousand naira monthly, the Minister said he does not envisage that as the beneficiaries after acquiring power sector based skills would earn far above that amount paid to them as stipend.
Highlighting on the existing huge gap which needs to be filled up to prevent foreigners from taking over the place, he intensified that qualified and skillful Nigerians would also be needed in the area of renewable energy. “It is a huge way of advancing the local content capacity of our people. If we can train our people, why do we need to import technicians, when our people can do the job? I look forward to a sector that would be driven by home – grown skilled workforce, that is my dream.”
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