Artisans lament decline in enrolment for apprenticeship

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ABIA, NOVEMBER 19, 2016 – Artisans in Umuahia have expressed concern with the drop in the population of youths eager to undergo apprenticeship in different skills in the area.

They disclosed in Umuahia in separate interviews that many young people, who could not go to school, preferred to drive commercial tricycle, popularly called Keke, rather than learn a trade.

They said that the craze for the tricycle was killing entrepreneurial skills among the youth of the area.

The artisans blamed the trend on the quest for quick money, saying that many people lacked the patience to learn a skill and earn a living from it.

A metal fabricator, Mr Emenike Nwankume, said that the trend had made many young boys to abandon their God-given talents.

“The trend has derailed many young men. Keke is not a profession and cannot compare with handiwork.

“It is better to develop one’s talent through practical training,” Nwankume said, adding that the training will make one self-employed and an employer of labour.

He said that although he had a short stint in tricycle riding, learning a trade was better than riding it.

Nwankume, who participated in a three-month training organised by the Small and Medium Enterprises Develoment Agency of Nigeria, said that with the training, the sky was his limit.

On his part, Mr Sunday Okorie, a vulcaniser who also specialised in tyre repairs, said that young people no longer showed interest in entrepreneurial skills acquisition.

Okorie said that his efforts to woo some boys in his area to learn vulcanising yielded no results.

“Some of them would come and after about one week or two, they abscond and the next thing is you see them riding keke or becoming a bus conductor,” he said.

“When we were growing up, once your father could not afford to send you to school or noticed that you could not cope, they look for where you could learn a trade.

“It is no longer so today,” Okorie said, adding that the development portended a bleak future for some trades, including vulcanising.

“By the time our generation of artisans are no longer active, there will be a vacuum because there will not be people to take over,” he said.

Mr Isaac Igwe, an auto electrician, spoke in the same vein and blamed the development on the unbridled desire for quick money.

“Nowadays, young boys want to ride keke or drive bus because they will make quick money,” Igwe said.

He said that the lack of interest in apprenticeship had left many artisans to work alone, thus making their job stressful.

The respondents agreed that the trend was more prevalent among the male youth and portended danger for the nation if unchecked.

They called for intervention measures by the three tiers of government to help in reversing the phenomenon.

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