Concerned about the widening skill gap in the artisan segment of Nigeria’s real estate industry, Alpha Mead Group has partnered with the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) intent on bridging the gap.
The partnership wants to achieve this goal through the company’s recently launched Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative known as Alpha Mead PATH.
PATH is an acronym for Professionalism Acquired through Timely Human Development and, according to officials of Alpha Mead, the new initiative is aimed at demonstrating the company’s commitment to human capital development, business sustainability and economic prosperity of its chosen markets.
Femi Akintunde, the company’s Group Managing Director, explained to BusinessDay that the initiative seeks to address frontally the dearth of artisan skills in the market by mobilizing and working with their employees to make technical education attractive again.
“It is also aimed to increase employment opportunities for artisans and create sustainable wealth for this segment of the real estate industry,” Akintunde said, disclosing that the pilot programme was launched in Lagos recently with a two-day special training and mentoring sessions for more than 100 technical college students from Ikorodu, Ikeja, Ikotun, Epe and Badagry.
Laolu Oguntuyi, Director of Technical and Vocational Training at LASTVEB, commended Alpha Mead Group, saying that the initiative was not just timely, but also out to address fundamental gaps that the board had been looking to fill over the years.
“I must commend Alpha Mead Group for the initiative because it speaks cogently to identified gaps we have been doing so much to bridge at the board. The difference between acquired skills and required skills is what is called a skill gap. And as a board, we have noticed these gaps and are making efforts to close them.
“So, when a company like Alpha Mead Group, with over 12 years’ experience in the market across 11 countries approached us to collaborate in supplying that side of required skills that has been missing, we embraced it and that is why we had to bring in students from all our technical colleges in Lagos to be part of this,” the director said.
Oguntuyi advised the students to take the opportunity seriously because they would need those skills to progress in their career and in life. “The world is now a global village. What that means is that there is nothing called local skill any longer.
“There can only be one standard and that is what will be acceptable globally. I encourage you all to seize this rare opportunity to expose yourself to these international standards so you can be relevant in the market that is emerging globally”, Oguntuyi told the students.
Wale Odufalu, Group Executive Director, Corporate Services of Alpha Mead told the gathering that “at Alpha Mead Group, human and capacity development is dear to our hearts. We recognize that business success and sustainability can only happen when the right people with the right capabilities and skills drive the process.”
“As an organization that works with a lot of technicians, we have experienced firsthand, the impact of these skill gaps on operational output. But rather than shy away or complain, in addition to what we are doing to constantly upskill the crop of technical staff in our employment, we decided to take a holistic approach to address the challenge over the years,” she said further.
She said that this was one of such holistic approaches. “We are bringing the required skills, through the experiences of our employees, to meet the students in the classroom so when they go out there, they can combine the acquired skills they learnt in the classroom with the required skill we have designed for them and become better and more competitive,” she said.
Odufalu said that the approach was not new to Alpha Mead, disclosing that they had to set up the Alpha Mead Training Centre (AMTC) to increase facilities management skills and competencies in the market.
This, according to her, was because no higher institution in Nigeria today offered facilities management at the undergraduate level. “Today, AMTC has not just produced some of the best FM talents in Alpha Mead, it has supplied the industry with competent hands,” she said.
On her Part, Erejuwa Gbadebo, Managing Director of Alpha Mead Group’s Real Estate Research and Advisory arm, noted that the PATH initiative was another way Alpha Mead wanted to increase the opportunity and deepen the real estate sector.
“So, after considering a number of options, we concluded to work with the technical colleges, because that’s the bedrock of technical and vocational skill in Nigeria today”, she said.