General Electric (GE) Nigeria, has released a White Paper titled The Future of Work in Nigeria. Bridging the Skills Gap: The Key to Unlocking Nigeria’s Inherent Potential as part of the company’s global ‘The Future of Work’ series to highlight the need for investment in sustainable skills development.
In this 2017 issue, GE commissioned a survey of four key industries – oil and gas, transportation, healthcare and power – for insight from their key leaders, including CEOs, HR and operations directors, on the impact of skills shortage on their businesses, as well as the ways to address skills shortages.
Lazarus Angbazo, President and CEO of GE Nigeria, commented, “Competing in the 21st century global economy requires advanced skills development strategies and policies robust enough to adjust to changes in the economic landscape and the associated demands for skills. GE is committed to building a world that works better. We are committed to building skills to meet critical needs and fill skills gaps domestically and globally. Our aim is to achieve success by building collaboration, increasing employability, and engaging the public sector and business community. We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to skills development. Indeed, it varies across countries and sectors. However, what is constant is the need for both the public and private sector to come together to ensure that the education system, from traditional structures, to vocational and new approaches, are producing the necessary skills for the country’s current needs while anticipating its skills needs in the future.”
The report highlighted quality education as crucial to Nigeria’s future socio-economic development and emphasised the strain as a misalignment between current curriculum and industry needs places on the country’s infrastructural development, while recommending dialogue as a first step and public-private partnerships as a key driver in enhancing the quality of education.
The Honorable Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who wrote the preface for the report stated that, “Nigeria faces a Herculean task in plugging its skills gap. As the economy grows and new technologies emerge, the demand for skilled, competent and technical employees will only grow. Much of the emphasis needs to be placed on educational resourcing and policy reform – issues that sit predominantly with government and donors. But, the private sector has both a vested interest and a role to play in supporting the development of talent and the widening of the skills base in Nigeria.”
A strong example of GE’s commitment to skills development in Nigeria is the Lagos Garage, a hub for advanced manufacturing-based innovation, strategy development, idea generation and collaboration. Co-located with the GE Lagos offices in Victoria Island, the permanent installation of the Lagos Garage, launched in 2016, offers a year-round series of skills training programmes focused on building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs. To date, 141 entrepreneurs have graduated the programme having been trained to use the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters as well as in business development. 100+ prototypes have been developed at the Garage with over 40 ideas being transformed into practical business models. About $1m+ in funding has been secured by graduates of the programme and 12 alumni businesses have won prestigious awards both home and abroad.