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  iCreate Africa is a Human capital development social enterprise committed to developing and rebranding technical trade professions through annual skills competitions, Exhibitions, and training. This year, iCreate Africa intends to focus on the construction industry, in order to find solutions to an unending decline of artisans and a possible increase in the employment sector of the economy. While there is an increase in youth unemployment in Nigeria, a case study conducted by the Centre for global development indicates that 70 percent of construction firms are having a hard time filling trade positions such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, tile layers, etc., otherwise known as the bulk of the construction workforce. The younger generations are disinterested in trade work; available trade and technical education have been phased out, and the ageing workforce are retiring. This gap exists because of the negative perception and misconception of trade careers. For example, trades careers in construction are considered low-paying, backbreaking, unsafe, and with few opportunities for advancement. To address the construction labour shortage and competency in service delivery, all industry stakeholders should become a part of the solution in rebranding the perception of skilled trades professions as lucrative and satisfying occupations. Marketing or building trades from menial to meaningful is one of the strategies needed to reverse declining workforce trends. All industry stakeholders need to stake a claim in reviving the reputation of tradespeople by re-educating society about the benefits of careers in construction to attract younger generations to enter the workforce and portray them positively. The way to change this downward momentum goes beyond creating more training programs, we must first address the outcome of trade professions in Nigeria by repositioning skilled trades from the current informality and negative perception toward a more profitable and positive position. This is why through the iCreate Skills Fest, Industries, Institutions and Government, will collaborate to improve the training and employment structure of skilled workers starting with the construction industry. Together we will increase the abilities, status, and economic prospects of young people. The iCreate Skills Fest is scheduled to take place from the 4th to the 6th of April 2022 at the International Conference Centre(ICC) Abuja. The event will feature Construction Skills Competition, Exhibition, Technical and vocational education and training (TVET)  Conference and Skills Awards. In order to successfully execute the event, we have partnered with key stakeholders in construction and development agencies such as Bosch, Giz, Sterling Bank, Skillers, African international housing show, Federation of Construction industry, Nigeria Society of Engineers, National Institute of architects, National institutions of builders. We urge the government, policymakers, educational institutions, construction companies, real estate developers, manufacturers of building materials and the general public to get involved as we work towards shaping Nigeria’s future workforce. Featured Image Source: iCreate Africa
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This article was first published on 29th March 2022

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