Osun empowers 300 artisansOsun State is set to change the common perspective about artisans, who are generally regarded as unemployable.
The government is taking steps to disabuse people’s minds in the inability of local artisans to handle sophisticated civil designs and finishing in building construction.
It has empowered 300 artisans to make them relevant in their chosen fields.
The government believes that these artisans would be able to handle their jobs perfectly well, if given the necessary training.
They were trained in painting, plumbing, electrification, auto-repairs and other vocations.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola, in his drive to build home-grown economy that will be all-inclusive for the state, believes that local contents wherever available should be harnessed and tapped for the benefit of all.
Thus, his government evolved a policy that would retrain artisans in the state to compete favourably with their counterparts the world over.
The first set of artisans that were trained were painters. About 300 of them underwent intensive training in the art of house painting under the Osun Schools Infrastructure Development (O’School) using the latest tools and materials available.
The 300 pioneer trainees graduated and received certificate of competence last year.
The government said that this is part of its capacity building programmes to make artisans compete favourably with their peers anywhere in the world.
Training of these artisans became necessary, according to the chairman of the O’School Infrastructure Development Committee, Otunba Lai Oyeduntan, in order to bridge the knowledge gap between artisans in the state and their counterparts elsewhere.
Oyeduntan further said government considered it important to empower artisans to reverse the trend of shopping for people with skills from outside the state to execute jobs which otherwise would have added value to the economy of the state.
He said that it will no longer be fashionable to bring in artisans from other states to execute jobs in the state.
The training has brought artisans from Osun State neck-and-neck with others from cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, among others.
Governor Aregbesola had envisaged that if these people are fully equipped, the effects would be significantly felt on the economy of the state.
He promised an improved and strong economic base for the state through the harnessing of local contents in all government’s developmental projects. According to him, government has decided to give the job of painting new school buildings under construction to local artisans as a test of their capability to carry out good jobs based on their training.
Aregbesola said government embarked on training the artisans to improve their capacity so that they would be able to render good services to government.
He, however, stated that the training was a gift to them as it will enhance their economic well-being even beyond the period of the O’School projects.
He also noted that the painters’ relevance would extend beyond the state when people realise that they are professionals. He also promised that the training would extend to artisans of other professions and would come up regularly.
He said: “To give an idea of the enormity of what is involved; construction is going on in 24 sites in different parts of the state. Contracts for the construction of 30 new sites would be awarded within the next two weeks.
“This training is not a one-off exercise; it is one in a series that will embrace other artisans in the state. Capacity building and improvement are also parts of our government’s policies to help improve the life of our people by giving them the opportunity to earn decent living for themselves.
“As a result, a similar training workshop for metal fabricators will follow this one in a matter of short time. Our objective with capacity enhancement is to make our local artisans more effective and efficient in their trade.
“It would also expose them to modern technology, which, in turn, would improve their professionalism; with a view to adding value to their services.”
With the successful training for the painters, government has equally promised that other vocations such as electrical, plumbing, bricklaying, carpentry, aluminium work and others, would soon benefit from the skill acquisition scheme.
People within the state who before now went outside to get professionals at exorbitant prices to do their works would now source for them locally at a reasonable price.
Besides, there would be capital flow and circulation within the economy of the state and people’s income would improve.
Not only this, it is also envisaged that these artisans would be sought after by clients from other states once they prove that they are capable of doing quality jobs.
“Again, the programme will engender rapid development in the state,” Aregbesola said.
Some of the participants, who spoke to Newsextra, expressed their satisfaction over government’s gesture.
One of them, Mr. Kayode Bello, said the training has exposed him to new opportunities.
He stated that at the completion of the training, he has become a professional painter.
Bello, however, pleaded with government to extend such training to artisans of other professions so that Osun State can reap the economic benefit of the scheme in future.
Culled from The Nation
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