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ASSESSMENT OF THE TRAINING NEEDS OF CRAFT SKILL WORKERS IN NORTH-WESTERN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
The construction industry is the sector of the economy that plans, designs, constructs, alters, refurbishes, maintains, repairs and eventually demolishes buildings of all kinds (Jaggar, and Smith 2000). Construction industry in Nigeria is built on a foundation of skill craft workers who are primarily supplied through various sources such as craft training institutions, vocational or technical colleges, on the job training and apprenticeship (Yakubu, 2003). Ubenyi (1999) and Anigbogu (2002) opined that the labour-intensive nature of construction activities in Nigeria was attributed to the predominance of large number of small-scale construction firms that rely solely on skilled and unskilled labour for their operations.
Some studies (Obiegbu, 2002; Bokinni, 2005 and Njoku, 2007) have indicated the existence of shortages of quality craftsmen in the Nigerian construction industry. Some of the root causes of the shortages are as follows; aging of skilled craft workers in the industry, decline in the number of new entrants into skilled trades, poor funding and ineffective state of vocational education and training system in the country. Other causes include poor image associated with construction labour as work done by less intelligent people, lack of commitment by government and the construction industry toward training and development.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines training as “practical education in any profession, art or craft”. Ying, et al. (2008) also defines training as identifying, assuring and helping to develop the key competencies that enable individuals to perform current or future jobs. Training in this context, is seen as an activity which is concerned with making employees more articulate and efficient in the performance of their current tasks
or in preparation for a new type of job to meet the dynamic needs of the organisation (Swanson, 2001).Training in the construction industry refers to a technique that is used to improve the capabilities of personnel in order to improve their productivity and increase turnover, absenteeism, injuries and rework (Muya et al. 2003; Ying, 2008).
Assessment of training needs is a vital part of the training design which endeavours to investigate the performance „gaps‟ of people in their jobs in order to identify what needs to be learnt. For training to be effective and efficient it must therefore start with a “need” which can be identified as a “gap” between training deficiencies and skills (Fadil and Ruslan, 2006) “Gaps” can also include differences between the existing and desired competencies and skills (Janice, 2003). However, need assessment assists organisation in identifying competencies and performance of employees or work teams, problem solving or productivity issues and assist organisations to prepare for and respond to future changes in the organization or job duties.
Without training needs assessment, there can be no way of knowing whether the training process is correctly designed or not (Bee and Bee, 1998; Janice, 2002; Fadil and Hassan, 2006). This study therefore focused on the training needs at individual craftsmen (personal) level with a view to identify the training deficiencies. Hence, the need to identify craft skill training needs in the Nigerian construction become necessary