You just finished from the university and you quickly realize years of school didn’t really prepare you for the reality you have come to face.
Or you finished your secondary school and do not have enough funding to proceed to a tertiary institution immediately or just maybe you just have an affinity for handy-work
I know lot of time when educated people ask about learning a skill, most times, the initial suggestion is go learn web development, or design or IT stuff and all, don’t get me wrong, these are great paths. I mean I’m a tech person myself but there are other viable paths that is always being less talked about; The blue-collar sector. Since we founded wesabi, my whole orientation about the blue-collar sector has completely been transformed, I learnt how to paint too.
Now, Available statistics in Nigeria also shows that the informal sector contributes about 60 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Like many other developing countries, the sector is considered crucial to job creation as it accounts for about 90 percent of jobs in the country. In South Africa, the sector generates 60 percent of employment and contributes about 28 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Federal Office of Statistic. 2012
Please note that any suggestion being made in this article are not sponsored. They are personal opinions and mostly from data generated from running wesabi for 4 years plus.
So first thing first; you need to determine which trade you will like to learn; is it metal fabricating, plumbing, cooling systems, automobile mechanic. You could make research on this.
Again, this isn’t any kind of endorsement of some sort, but the top three trades on the wesabi platform are
1) Cooling system or HVACS – this involve AC repairs and installation both commercial and small scale, Refrigerators etc
3) Carpentry, joining and furniture making
This doesn’t make automobile mechanic any less favourable (wesabi do not offer this service, so we do not even have much data on it), neither does it make metal fabrication (they have much comfortable lifestyle as those we have mentioned above).
Once you decide on which trade/skill you’d like to learn, now check which vocational school teaches them in you area. Why we suggest vocational schools or training centers is because you will not just be learning the basics of the skill, you will be also be taught the engineering and theory behind it. If you are in Lagos, Etiwa vocational school is a great place to start. The environment is quite conducive. They specialize in Electrical, HVAC and plastering. I totally recommend them. In addition, the there is a vocational school in Ikorodu being owned by the Lagos state government. I really like this one for young people who are just going into secondary school. They combine secondary school education with vocational skill learning.
If you are not in Lagos, you can check John bosco institute in Ondo. I particularly like this one because it’s quite affordable yet standard aren’t compromised.
Barring the path that combines secondary school education with vocational training, most training in vocational school take between 6-24 months depending on the skill being learned.
Once training at vocational or technical schools are completed, it’s always good to get real life experience by becoming an apprentice either with an experienced artisan on wesabi or join an organization that accepts new trainee
While I acknowledged that this isn’t the only route to learning a skill in the blue-collar sector, I will like to believe it is the best route. Some alternative pathway that have been explored by generally less privileged folks is the attachment of young kids to workshops, I personally do not encourage this path as it doesn’t encourage proper education for the kids involved.
We always want to see more educated folks in the blue-collar sector. I can assure you that being an AC technician is as viable as being a software developer.
In the next article I will writing about; How to become a very successful service professional in the informal sector.
You can watch the video version here