In a country like Nigeria where unemployment is rife and graduates of Universities, Polytechnics and other higher institution of learning continue to sit at home years after graduation, the talk about youth acquiring technical expertise and skills is long overdue.
The acquisition of technical skills can hugely help tackle the menace of unemployment in the country. Discussing this with us, is Henry Ossai Alumona, CEO of Henry Karll Company Limited, an industrial engineering services and training company.
Q: Can we meet you?
My name is Henry Ossai Alumona, CEO of Henry Karll Company Limited an Industrial Engineering Services Firm and Henry Karll Technical Training Centre, a training arm of the company.
Q: There is this belief in Nigeria that it is very difficult to find technical manpower in both the industrial and domestic sector. Do you share this sentiment?
Yes, the demand for skilled workers and technicians is already acute and will become ever more intense as the industrial sector becomes the dominant provider of employment currently, our Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) sub-sector is unable to respond to the changing labour market requirements because of its present supply-driven orientation. Its curricula, instructional equipment, teaching methods, and evaluation techniques are outdated, leading to inappropriately low internal and external efficiencies. Hence students have limited access to equipment required for the practical knowledge of their chosen field.
Q: Tell us about your company – Henry Karll Company Limited.
Henry Karll Company Limited is a multinational engineering servicing company established in 2007 to provide cost-effective engineering and industrial maintenance services to customers, using highly skilled and well-motivated workforce. Our motivation is based on our passion and ability to promptly deliver and to give a professional service to our customers without compromising quality. Our services includes Pipefitting and welding, Metal fabrication, Industrial thermal insulation, Industrial plant maintenance, Precision machining, Movement, positioning and installation of plant equipment and machineries, civil works, duct work and supply of engineering materials and labour, training and general contracts.
Q: We understand that Henry Karll started as an industrial engineering firm, what motivated you to establish the Technical Training Centre?
The current mismatch between school graduates and the employer requirements will continue without intervention. Vocational and technical education and training is a direct means of providing workers with the skills required to meet the evolving needs of employers and the economy. It is with this mindset that the Henry Karll Technical Training Centre was established. Henry Karll Technical Training Centre is a human development centre established to fill the skill gap in Nigeria’s industrial sector and promote entrepreneurship through the provision of technical and vocational skills training in order to help generate employment and in turn create wealth. Our programs are targeted at unemployed individuals willing to acquire technical skills as well as workers willing to upgrade their level of competency for better productivity at their work place.
Q: Talking about unemployment, how in your own opinion, would the acquisition of technical skills help millions of unemployed graduates in Nigeria?
Skills acquisition is vital for an economy to compete and grow, particularly in an era of economic integration and technological change. Skills acquisition without mincing word is needed to generate employment, create wealth, reduce poverty and increase productivity. The FGN also shares this opinion, it views skills development as an important factor in the drive to enhance productivity, stimulate economic competitiveness and raise people out of poverty.
Q: Is there a level of education you must have to be eligible for admission into the technical training school?
Our priority is not placed on the educational background of the applicant but rather on their ability to read and write as well as willingness to learn.
Q: What are the major challenges you have faced running a technical engineering training centre alongside the parent company?
The training centre is not yet self-sustaining; it relies to a large extent on the company for finance because the student population is low hence, revenue generated is also low. The company is encumbered with the cost of running and maintaining the training facility, offsetting bills and payment of salaries for instructors just to mention a few.
Q: Are you looking at creating any Public-Private Sector Partnerships in Technical Skills Training in order to contribute to capacity building in the industry?
Yes, presently we are working towards collaborating with the Lagos State Technical Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) on its Employability Support Project just to mention a few.
Q: Are there any special benefits for students in Henry Karll training centre?
Aside the skills acquired, our trainees will be privileged to enjoy these benefits;
- Internship opportunities in industries after training
- Job opportunities for trainees with our various clients
- Start-up support for outstanding trainees
- Leadership and entrepreneurship trainings incorporated into the training curricula
- Industrial experience during training
Q: Many graduates of Nigerian tertiary institutions think that technical service jobs are beneath them because of their “high” level of education. What do you have to tell people with such beliefs?
The world is no longer the way it used to be, emphasis is now on competency and skills. As it is the labour market place is already populated with certificate holders who don’t have jobs because white collared vacancies are few. Why wait idly when you can earn from learning a technical skill.
Q: As well as training technical manpower, you also provide industrial engineering services. Do you work with small and medium-sized companies or only the large ones?
Over the years, the company has serviced several organizations within and outside the country; our clientele base ranges from food and beverages companies, packaging companies, chemical and pharmaceutical companies, fast moving consumer goods companies, hotels to oil and gas. Some of our clients includes; Nestle Nigeria Plc, Procter & Gamble, Dufil Foods (KTNL), Kraft Heinz, Tetra Pak (WA) Ltd, Ranona Nigeria Limited, OLAM Group, Crown Flour Mills, Wärtsilä Marine & Power, OK Foods Limited, GB Foods (Conservaria Africana), SIWA Kitchen, Hi-Tech Design Furniture, BUHLER, SIDEL, 7UP Bottling, Dangote Sugar Refinery, A&P Foods (Haansbro), JOF Nigeria Limited, AJEAST Nigeria Limited, GEA Engineering, Oriental Foods Limited, Perfetti Van Melle Nigeria, Lifecare Ventures, Lotus Platics and more.
Q: Where are your Training Centers located in Nigeria?
The Henry Karll Technical Training Centre is located at Km 32, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, by Sawmill bus stop, Morogbo – Agbara, Lagos State.
You can visit Henry Karll’s website at http://www.henrykarll.com/.
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