Nigeria is rapidly advancing on its path towards an industrial economy. This will position the country as a manufacturing hub for the West African region. This growth is supported by a young population that is rapidly acquiring skills in order to meet the demands of industrialization. As growing demand for workers in the manufacturing industries increases, certain skills are commonly sought after by employers.
Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHIN), the local subsidiary of leading Korean shipbuilder, Samsung Heavy Industries, has consistently been providing these skills to a young generation of Nigerians. SHIN operates the Lagos-based SHI-MCI yard, Africa’s leading integration and fabrication shipyard. The yard has constructed vessels for the oil and gas industry, including the Egina FPSO, the world’s largest floating production storage and offloading vessel now active in the Egina oil field. In order to produce high-quality work to international specifications, SHIN recognized the need to invest in the training of its employees in valuable skills such as welding which are key to economies based on manufacturing.
Despite the high demand for welding skills by Nigerian companies, there are few local training schools. Nigeria’s need for welders is also driven by the ever increasing demand for energy. Nigeria is a currently a major energy producer and will continue to increase its production in the coming years. This is also attracting increased investment in local infrastructure for the local oil and gas industry. It is strategically important for Nigeria to match the skills of its population to the future needs of the Nigerian economy.
The oil and gas industry is a significant user of steel and other metals and will be increasingly supplied by local providers. Only by training welders now will there be enough welders for industries such as shipbuilding, construction and manufacturing.
Demographically, Nigeria has one of the world’s youngest populations. This is a competitive advantage, but a young country also needs education to drive economic growth. Recognizing the human potential of Nigeria, SHIN established a Welding Qualification Center (WQC) in Tarkwa Bay, Lagos. As the provider of Nigeria’s only international welding certification, SHIN believes in nurturing home-grown talent in order to power Africa’s industrial future. Accredited by the International Institute of Welding (IIW) as an “Approved Training Body”, the WQC offers certified courses in international fillet, plate and tubular welding. Since it was established 530 students have graduated from the WQC as qualified welders.
Established in order to support SHIN’s shipbuilding projects, the WQC is now an ongoing asset to Nigeria’s vocational training system. The center has facilitated the transfer of Korean knowledge and skills to Nigerian students. Korea has been a leading shipbuilder for decades and has achieved economic success by harnessing manufacturing as a platform to support the growth of more developed industries. With the help of Korean and Nigerian trainers, the WQC strives to deliver international welding qualifications to students to they can work on projects for international clients.