The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo has disclosed that the planned National Power-Sector Apprenticeship Scheme would help bridge the technical gap in the sector.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press, Ministry of Power, Timothy Oyedeji.
Nebo said, on assumption of duty he discovered a near hopeless situation on the technical side of the sector, with over 16 years off non-engagement of engineers, dying, sick and incapacitated workers existed in the sector, with no hope of being replaced by competent hands.
“The implication of this ugly development is that we will be handing over to the private sector a totally deficient and incapacitated work force that cannot deliver on the mandate handed down to us by Mr.
President for us to ensure uninterrupted power supply nation-wide”.
Hence we conceived this scheme to train artisans, filters, machinists, linesmen Sub-station operators and joineries, these artisanary staff will now be ready as driving force of young men and women who take the power sector to higher heights.
“We are desirous of building a robust sector, these individuals drawn from across the Country will undergo intensive training between 6 months and one year, during this time they would be paid a stipend.
When asked if the proposed scheme is in conflict with, the on –going one by the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN, the Minister said it is not necessary so, as this scheme is not for engineers but for those lower level positions, requiring certification of School Certificate, Ordinary Diploma and few Higher Diploma holders, the idea is to give them training that will enable them to acquire skills as artisans “it will make them marketable, as entrepreneurs among them can set up their businesses, thereby 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.
He said “There exist huge gap, that we need to fill otherwise foreigners will take over this place, qualified and skillful Nigerians would also be needed in the area of renewable energy, it is a huge way of advancing 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 work-force, that is my dream”, he concluded.