C/River Partners UK firm for construction, fabrication Academy

Ben AyadeWorried by the dearth of manpower in the construction and fabrication industry in the country, Cross River State Government, in partnership with a United Kingdom (UK) based firm, Schools Company, has concluded plans to set up a construction and fabrication academy.

Known as Royal Academy for Construction and Fabrication, the institution will be the first of its kind in Africa that will focus mainly on hi-tech and heavy industrial fabrications and constructions.

Speaking shortly after sealing the deal with the UK firm in Calabar, the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade said: “The Royal Academy will be the first of its kind in Africa that will focus mainly on hi-tech and heavy industrial fabrications and constructions.”

He further disclosed that apart from the academy, the state was also setting up a British-Canadian International School in Obudu as well as a teachers’ training Institute to be sited in Obubra to compliment the upcoming schools.

“This is the greatest thing that Cross Riverians have been waiting for because it is going to develop a new set of workforce that is skillful and intellectually equipped for the 21st century construction and fabrication,” Ayade hinted.

According to him, “by setting up this great institution, Cross River State is preparing a background that will create a new story and a new narrative for the new Africa that all will be proud of,” assuring that, “in the next few years, the state shall be the leading light in construction.”

The governor explained that “the Academy will be responsible for the design and construction of bridges and houses,” adding that “its first task is to open up a training centre in our proposed brand new city, Calasvegas, in Calabar and take in our recruits for the academy to begin to begin training exercise.”

He, however, lamented that “It is sad that we have to continuously depend on foreign inputs to be able to have a modular refinery and that is is why we feel that the setting up of this academy will deal with the issues of heavy industrial innovations and manufacturing to make Cross River the epicenter for manufacturing and construction in Africa.

The governor expressed optimism for a reversal in current trend in the construction industry were 80 percent of building work in Nigeria is done by foreigners from Togo, Ghana, Niger and Benin Republic because in Nigeria the training is highly theoretical and academic, hence, noting that there was need to bring a new form of training that will make them readily available for any form of task.

The governor stressed that “it is now time to let the brain do the thinking while the hands work. Our problems may be global but the solutions are local. So, today we have technical and world class partners who are here to develop a local architecture that will drive our future in terms of technology and innovation in areas of agriculture, petroleum, solid minerals and other fields of life as they may find it necessary.”

He hinted that “by this partnership, the social housing programme which is to build houses for the displaced people of Bakassi, the construction of the proposed three new cities, and all four construction sites earmarked will now become the training and learning ground for young Cross Riverians to acquire basic construction and fabrication skills.”

On the proposed Teachers Training Institute in Obubra, Ayade explained that some of the unique features of the new institution which shall deal with issues of continuous learning and recertification of teachers in the state will be teachers exchange programmes to avail them of the trending teaching technics and keep them on par with their peers on the global arena.

He maintained that “It is only when we prepare our kids at the primary level that we will prepare them for the future challenges as well as close the technology gap between African children and their counterparts in developed societies.

The schools will not just be another school but international school of world class standard and fully digitalized with virtual opportunities including library provided to enhance standard teaching and learning because we are working with a team of professional teachers who have risen to the pinnacle of their careers in the United Kingdom and are willing to bring their experience to bear.”

Earlier, leader of the team and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Schools Company UK, Mr. Elias Achilleos, disclosed that the concept and design of the proposed schools are fashioned after the United Kingdom’s schools standard bearing in mind the climatic condition of Nigeria and promised to put up the best training facilities in the state.

According to him, “this is a great project to the people of Nigeria and Calabar in particular and I sue for support from all the stakeholders for the successful implementation of these projects that will turn out the very best in construction and fabrication works for this country.

He maintained that all trainees of the academy will have the opportunity of visiting such facilities outside of the country to expose them as well as get them acquainted with modern technologies in fabrication and construction.

He added, “Our goal is to see this facility up running with the best equipment and best trainers that build the few trades’ men for Nigeria in the next 18 months.”

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