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17 May 2019

As part of efforts to improve the employability of
young Nigerians and increase the nation’s GDP, Lafarge Africa Plc has
demonstrated its commitment to reducing the manpower deficit in the
manufacturing sector through rigorous industrial training for technicians in
its Ewekoro technical and training institute.

To reduce the growing manpower deficit, especially
semi-skilled labour in the manufacturing industry, Lafarge Africa Plc recently
graduated a new set of students drawn from its host communities in Ewekoro and

The capacity development initiative is part of the
company’s effort to empower young school leavers with the prerequisite
knowledge for industrial operations, as well as National Business and Technical
Education Board (NABTEB) for possible admission into the Universities of their
choice to further their studies.

Fidelia Osime, Organization and Human Resources
Director, Lafarge Africa, noted that the technical apprentice programme is
expedient, against the backdrop of the undue influx of semi-skilled workers
from the neighbouring African countries that have taken over industrial operations
in many manufacturing firms in the country.

“We have designed the Cement Professional
Technician Programme (CPTP) and Technical Apprentice Programme to adequately
train youths in the cement manufacturing process.

“It is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
initiative hinged on five pillars: health, safety, education, infrastructure as
well as a clean environment. We believe that programmes like these will help to
bridge the skills gap in the cement production industry,” Osime stated.

Femi Adekunle, Head, HR and Industrial Relations
said: “It is an idea geared towards empowering science-oriented secondary
school leavers in our host communities – first, to offer employment
opportunities and second, to help them further their academics to the
University level,” he said.

Adekunle explained that the training programme,
which started as an 18-month programme, had been upgraded to a 36-month scheme.
The programme now runs alongside the Cement Professional Technician Program
(CPTP), with a wider selection coverage area and upgrading from non-residential
to a full boarding system.

Folusho Samuel, Director of Projects, Nigerian
Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), celebrated the initiative,
revealing that some of the trainees have already received job offers from
multinational companies.

She pledged that NECA would continue to work with the private sector to ensure that all the graduating technicians are fully engaged.

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