By Steve Agbota, [email protected]
Nigerian government agencies spend about $1 billion (approximately N300 billion) to train their workers overseas. With the maritime industry as a technical sector, parastatals and government agencies in the industry are not left out as they often send their staff overseas abroad for training annually to acquire more knowledge in their various fields.
The reason is that some of the government training institutes either dont have the competent manpower or where such exit they are are abandoned to rot away.
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But withstanding these government agencies always identified the objectives of training as key to manpower development, hence, they send their workers overseas to acquire more knowledge that comes with a huge price they have to pay.
This is one of the reasons why Nigeria is experiencing scarcity of dollars, which invariably, put pressure on the Naira.
For the maritime industry to stem the spate of capital flight on overseas training, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has resuscitated its dockyard training school in Apapa. The institute would continue to provide knowledge in the area of the blue economy, according to experts.
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The facility, which has been abandoned for many years has now been transformed into a modern training school with world-class equipment for manpower development.
Daily Sun learnt that the facility has the capacity for training 380 persons per per session as it consists of a lecture theatre with seating capacity for 73 trainees, a large hall with seating capacity for 112, a mini hall with seating capacity for 50, another with 27 and six (6) simulation classrooms that can seat 16 persons each, a fully automated library with seating capacity for 120 persons and a hostel with a 30-bed capacity.
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However, stakeholders said the facility would further reduce funds that agencies in the maritime industry are spending on overseas training annually, even as they commended the management of NPA for reviving the edifice.
Speaking at the commissioning of the facility last week, the Managing Director of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello Koko, said that the decision to invest so much in the facility was in cognizance of its former employees, some of whom are retired but actually not tired and as such need to tap into their wealth of experience and institutional knowledge by inviting them as resource persons to train upcoming employees.
According to him, the resuscitation of the training school is a testament of the agency’s resolve to institute continuous learning as a culture in the Nigerian Ports Authority.
He added that a modern technical training facility of this nature was germane to the authority because the opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn which it offers constitutes a critical success factor in actualising the country’s strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa.
He explained that having in place a robust talent pool is a necessary precondition for operating efficiently in the fiercely competitive terrain that port business is, adding that consistently upskilling and reskilling its employees on whom the authority place a very high premium is an overriding objective as a management team. It also the readiness of the NPA to position its staff as best in class, which is the core of what the training school sets to achieve.
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He noted that processes are also in the works to partner with the World Maritime University, The Nigerian Navy Hydrography Department. Nigerian Institute of Marine and Oceanography Research, the University of Lagos, and other research and learning institutions in the area of curriculum development and capacity building.
Bello-Koko informed that work is at advanced stages to transform the NPA Riggers Workshop into a marine and Seamanship Workshop to be deployed for training in the area of Seamanship Practical, Radio/Signal. Marine Engine/Auxiliaries. Buoyage Practical, Mooring, and other Marine related competencies which are increasingly in demand, not just in-house but indeed in the industry he urged sister agencies in the maritime sector who are desirous of a best-in-class training platform for their employees to make use of the facility.
“Let me, therefore, seize this moment to recommend this facility for patronage by sister agencies in the maritime sector and other industry players who are desirous of a best-in-class training platform for their employees.
“Sustainably providing efficient port service in a safe, secure, and customer environment requires that we ensure and assure our skill preparedness and put in place a robust talent succession planning procedure that places emphasis on best practice as a culture.
“Undoubtedly, a lot of hard work was put to make this project a reality, so I want to commend the Engineering. Training, Facilities Management, and all other departments who partnered with them to actualize this remarkable feat,” he said.
He hinted that the activation of the training facility is thus timely, as it is coming at a time when the series of efforts geared towards making the nation’s ports more competitive and thus attractive of greater vessel traffic is beginning to crystallise.
“This commissioning is also a reminder that our drive towards attaining the compliance status for Quality Management System (ISO 9001), Environment Management System (ISO 14001) as well as Occupational Health & Safety Management System (ISO 45001) is no fluke, and all hands must be on deck to make it a reality.
“Let me seize this opportunity to implore all users of this facility to make the best use of this facility. I expect that we begin to realize commensurate value for money spent. Let me add that there is a pressing need to deepen our maintenance culture, The sustainability of investments such as this rests heavily on how well we maintain them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director General Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said that efficiency and effectiveness is a key factors for the maritime industry drive, adding that no industry can achieve significant growth or anything without training of its staff.
“Maritime industry is such a technical industry that you cannot progress or have efficiency and effectiveness if you don’t have well-groomed and trained manpower.
“Today, we are here to revive another edifice that would take of the training of our own people in the maritime industry. The objective of training not only in the maritime industry cannot be overemphasized. There’s nothing you can do without training.
“We are experiencing new technology on a daily basis; we are experiencing new innovation at the international arena. Hence, we must match all those new development in the maritime sector with the international community because shipping is international in nature.
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