Dr. Christopher Irene Imumolen, President UNIC Foundation, is also African Director ASIC UK, the only black man on the board. He manages Joint Professionals Training and Support International, JTPS, UK. He is a strong supporter of education and skills acquisition. In a chat with The Guardian, he explained why Nigerians are not playing at critical stages in oil and gas despite local content policy, promising his firm’s readiness to fill the gaps. Excerpts:
What is the concept of JPTS?
JPTS is Joint Professionals Training and Support International. JPTS stands for bridging the gap between academics and competence as it relates to industrial functions. As you already know there is a deficit in human capacity development in Nigeria industrial facet, which has led to unemployment and recruitment of expatriates into the oil and gas sector and telecommunication sectors.Nigerians are not doing critical jobs because of the assumption that Nigerians are not competent enough to do those jobs. We have a local content policy, though, which states that Nigerians should pick up some of these jobs, but when Nigerians are unfit companies have no choice, but to bring people who can help them do these jobs.So what we do at JPTS is to look into these issues, we train and develop people and make them fit to take up these positions.
What then is the job of our universities, why are they not able to bridge these gaps?
We are all in this country; we all know we have issues with our education standard; nobody can shy away from that. We have lapses in our educational systems, so people still need to be retrained. Of courses, we have some standard universities, though; yet people have to be trained professionally, don’t forget it is a professional training we are offering.
How long has JPTS been operating in the country?
It started about 10 years ago; so far we have trained over 35,000 professionals. In the past we just award certificates, but about three years ago we decided to celebrate our results by organising graduation and convocation ceremonies for our students.
What is the entry point into JPTS?
The entry point is ability to read and write. Both graduates and SSCE holders can apply. We have created various categories tailored to fit into individual’s specific needs. In as much a person can read and attend our classes to take lectures and eventually write exams, he is qualified. For our professional trainings we don’t have restrictions based on your qualifications.
We have levels one to four. Level one is the first step; a student must pass level one before proceeding to level two, and others. Note, in the first level we admit people of all educational backgrounds, all our students even PhD holders must pass through this level, anyone who fails this level, no matter his certificate, be it PhD or whatever will not be promoted to the next class.
How competent are your lecturers?All our courses are accredited by different agencies in the world; these agencies set the standards for the kind of instructors we must hire. We ensure that we comply with these standards, one of which is to get qualified instructors who can deliver the curriculum provided by the accreditation agencies.Let’s talk about our welding training for instance, our welding training is certified by American Welding Society, we authorized to issue certificates.
What are the cutting edges for training in JPTS?
Our trainings are very affordable and our standards are benchmarked with international best practices. Our certifications are internationally recognised; we have students working abroad with our certificates. Also we are the only ASIC accredited professional body in Nigeria.We assist our students to secure employment and internship opportunities, both locally and internationally.
We have JPTS International only in the US and in Nigeria, but we have training centers and partners in Ghana, Dubai, Angola and South Korea. We covered about 96% of Nigeria .We have our training centers in far ends like Adamawa and Borno.
You’re planning an eight-week free education; what’s it about?
The eight weeks free education for all, is sponsored by JPTS, as our Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR. It is free because we want to help the poor who cannot afford our programmes. There are people who cannot afford our fees, so, this eight weeks Programme will afford them the opportunity to benefit from our package.We strongly assert that human resources are the pivot for national growth not natural resources. So in these eight weeks we will be focusing on the development of human minds to further add value to our economy.
It is starting in July, we will be looking at things which have never been taught anywhere in Africa. We will be looking at areas like Genetic Engineering, Climate Change Development and Renewal Energy. We will be looking at Wavelength Detraction Technology, Advanced Clone Science development; these are the future skills and you cannot get this kind of training anywhere in Africa.
We are bringing them because we have to think ahead, we have to move with the world, in Nigeria our problems are still food and security, the world has gone far ahead.We need to look at what the world is doing and build people’s interest in this area. I know they are advanced and highly expensive, but with research you can start something; we are doing this in partnership with our experts from the US.
It is for everybody. We have about 15 areas we will be focusing on. These are advanced technology. Participants must be educated that is have ability to read and write, they also must be computer literate. Our objective is to keep Nigeria on the same map with countries, which are pursuing technological advancement. Human capital is required for development of country not mineral resources.
Originally published in Guardian