The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Wednesday inaugurated its Dockyard Training School in Apapa, Lagos as part of efforts to institute continuous learning culture for its employees.
The newsmen report that the facility was inaugurated by Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, NPA.
He noted that learning constitutes a critical success factor in actualizing the NPA’s strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa
According to Bello-Koko, inaugurating a modern technical training facility of this nature is germane to the authority and a testament of its resolve to institute continuous learning as a culture.
“As most of us are aware, having in place a robust talent pool is a necessary precondition for operating efficiently in the fiercely competitive terrain that port business is.
“Consistently upskilling and reskilling our employees on whom we place a very high premium is our overriding objective as a management team.
“Also, our readiness to position them to be best in class is at the core of what this training school sets to achieve,” he said.
The NPA boss said that the complex had the capacity of training 380 persons per time as it consists of a lecture theatre with a seating capacity of 73, a large hall with a seating capacity of 112, and a mini hall with a seating capacity of 50 and another with 27.
He said that the facility also contains six simulation classrooms that seat 16 persons each, a fully automated library, a computer training hall, a canteen seating capacity for 120 persons and a hostel with a 30-bed capacity.
Bello-Koko said that the decision to invest so much in the facility took cognizance of its former employees, some of whom although retired are actually not tired.
He said that they intend to tap into their wealth of experience and institutional knowledge by inviting them as resource persons to train upcoming employees.
“Processes are also in the works to partner with the World Maritime University, Nigerian Navy Hydrography Department, Nigerian Institute of Marine and Oceanography Research, University of Lagos and other research and learning institutions in the area of curriculum development and capacity building.
“It will be pertinent to mention that work is at advanced stages to transform our Riggers Workshop to a Marine and Seamanship Workshop.
“This will be deployed for training in the area of Seamanship Practical, Radio/Signal, Marine Engine/Auxiliaries, Buoyage Practical, Mooring and other Marine related competencies which are increasingly in demand, not just in-house but indeed in our Industry.
“These training will significantly help to insulate us and our stakeholders from the grave risk of talent deficit,” he said.
He recommended the facility for patronage by sister agencies in the maritime sector and other industry players who were desirous of a best-in-class training platform for their employees.
He said that the activation of the training facility was timely, coming at a time when a series of efforts geared towards making our ports more competitive and attractive of greater vessel traffic was beginning to crystalize.
“This inauguration is also a reminder that our drive towards attaining the compliance status for Quality Management System (ISO 9001), Environment Management System (ISO 14001) as well as Occupational Health & Safety Management System (ISO 45001) is no fluke.
“Let me seize this opportunity to implore all users of this facility to make the best use of this facility.
I expect that we begin to realize commensurate value for money spent.
“Let me add that there is a pressing need to deepen our maintenance culture.
The sustainability of investments such as this rests heavily on how well we maintain them.
“The concomitant benefits of this investment such as reduction in the cost of training, improved capacity to monitor quality, speed, convenience and deepening of local content amongst others will certainly make us all proud to be a part of this noble cause,” he said.
Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos noted that training was about exposing, opening one’s inner eyes and letting someone know that where they call dry land, you can get something from it.
“The institute will ensure saving the country funds from being taken outside.
“We are ready to collaborate with NPA in the area of diploma, masters so that we get the best of this facility and it can be a customized programme,” he said.
Also, an economist, Prof. Pat Utomi noted that unfortunately, Nigeria was not paying attention to the most important need of the country which was knowledge.
Utomi said that if the maritime industry which was a sector of Nigeria’s Blue Economy, could rise to its potential, it would help reduce unemployment in the country.
“But we cannot do that until people in the sector move ahead. And also key is how to get the most of the faculty.
“NPA needs to prove itself as the gateway of the economy and in so doing move through that gate,” he said.
Some of the dignitaries that witnessed the unveiling of the facility were: Dr Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency; Mrs Cecelia Gaya, Director-General, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON).
Others were: Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai, Flag Officer Command, Western Naval Command, Dr George Moghalu, Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mrs Vicky Hastruup, Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigerian.