Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy, in collaboration with the Lagos State government, is developing a pool of technicians to bridge the technical skills gap in the country, writes Emma Okonji
For five years running, the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy, which is managed by Samsung Electronics West Africa (SEWA), has been involved in training students from technical colleges on technical skills acquisition designed around home appliances and mobile phones. Each year, students undergo 21 months intensive hands-on-training and at the end of every training session, they graduate from the academy to begin small scale business on home appliances electronics devices. Some further their education to study engineering related courses at various tertiary institutions. But those who graduate with exceptional skills are either employed directly by SEWA or sent out to other organisations that need their services.
This year, the academy graduated 72 students, fully trained and equipped with technical skills on home appliances. Aside training, the 72 students were also awarded certificates and equipped with tool boxes that will enable them begin small scale business on repairs and maintenance of home appliances.
Addressing dearth in ICT skills
At this year’s graduation, 72 technicians, comprising young boys and girls, graduated from Samsung Electronics West Africa class of 2016, thus bridging the technical skills gap in the country.
They joined the 257 graduates, who have passed through the institution over the last four years, and who are expected to deepen the pool of well-trained technicians in the country.
With over 170 million people and a high rate of population growth, the World Bank estimates that Nigeria needs to create an additional 40 to 50 million jobs between now and 2030 – a compelling reason for both the public and private sectors within the country to sit up and amends.
It was with this challenge in mind that Samsung Electronics established the West Africa Engineering Academy in 2012, to create a pool of technically-skilled graduates who are either eligible for employment or are able to start their own businesses.
The Training Manager, Samsung Engineering Academy, Mr. Dickinson Odikayo, said the students were trained for a period 21 months (18 months in school and three months intensive training at Samsung Engineering Academy).
“The training is grouped into categories; basic class, intermediary class and advanced class. We train them on how to repair and install consumer electronics that ranges from refrigerator, fridge, washing mashing, air conditioners, deep fryer, microwave oven, mobile phones, among others,” Odikayo said.
“The new graduates were trained to either become employees in repair centres and assembly lines, or to become independent entrepreneurs. Some of Samsung’s service partners also help employ these graduates,” Odikayo said.
Head of Customer Service, SEWA, Mr. Raymond Olatokun, said the training was borne out of the need to fill the technical skills gap in the country.
“We train people who have some skills in technical courses and we train them to be more equipped with advanced technical skills that will help them find jobs or even set up their our business, offering technical services to customers. At the end if the training programme, Samsung employs some of them directly,” Olatokun said.
Managing Director of Samsung West Africa, Mr. Changwook Lee, said: “Samsung’s aim is to build successful partnerships in Nigeria to equip the country’s youth with the technical skills they need to transform their lives and contribute to the development of the country.”
According to him, academy revolutionises traditional education by providing technical and vocational training for school leavers, tertiary students and unemployed youth.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, said the Samsung Engineering Academy remained a great initiative which has given hope to youths with technical skills and equipped them to become technicians in electronics engineering.
Since its inception, the SEWA Lagos has trained over 800 students across the three trade areas (Household Appliances, Information and Mobile, and Audio Visual) under Basic, Intermediate and Advance training.
She said the collaboration between the state and SEWA to train students on technical skills is already yielding results as more youths are trained and equipped with technical tools to begin their own business.
Pleased with the impact of the training programme on the society, Kareem Jaiyeola, a 22 years old student, who graduated from the academy, said he has become an electrical installation and maintenance technician, based on the technical knowledge imparted in him during the training.
“I graduated in 2015 as a home appliance technician. I saw the training as an opportunity for me to improve on my skills, acquire knowledge and get exposed to become a better person,” he said.
According to him, “My experience in the Academy is a very insightful one. It impacted on me in so many areas of my life. It exposed me to so many good things that life entails. It helped me relate better with people. The Academy also trained on latest home appliance products and also equipped me the necessary tools, which have helped stand me out from other regular technicians.”
Speaking on the importance of the training to the Nigerian economy, some of the graduating students, who spoke in affirmative, said the training has helped them in gaining practical knowledge, combined with the theoretical work they learnt in their technical colleges to make them real professionals with mastery in home appliance repairs and maintenance.
Some of the other graduating students who spoke with THISDAY about their experiences during training, were full of praises for Samsung, and thanked the company for the positive impact the training has had on them, making them skillful in technical knowledge. They prayed that the company would continue to grow stronger in its business, having thought it wise to empower Nigerian youths.
Extending training initiative
Olatokun, who spoke extensively on collaboration and need to extend the training programme to other states, said the training has to do more with collaboration, adding that aside Lagos State, the Ekiti State government is also in partnership with Samsung and that the training also runs in the state. He, however, said that most states have approached Samsung to extend the training to them. He explained that Samsung was still in the process of considering extending the training to more states. based on available logistics and support from the state government.
He advised Nigerians who have interests in acquiring technical to give all of their time to attend the training and catch-in on the opportunity therein.
According to SEWA, it would continue to be committed to the development of communities where it operates.
“Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy provides an opportunity for youth empowerment and wealth creation in Nigeria. We are dedicated to building a workforce of technicians and service experts, in line with the government’s drive of empowering its citizens, especially the youth segment. SEWA is dedicated to manufacturing innovative technologies and efficient processes that enrich the lives of its customers,” Lee said.