Given the enormous but yet to be fully tapped potential in the Nigerian automotive industry towards employment generation, foreign direct investment and huge contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Enyo Retail and Supply-a customer-focused and technology-driven, fuels retailing company as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has embarked on the training of 5000 auto mechanics across Nigeria.
While flagging off the first batch of training in Lagos during the week, the company in partnership with Auto Medics a leading motor mechanic consultancy and training outfit said its aim was to give back to the society by helping to close the requisite skills gap in developing human capacity to continually service the automobile sector. The sector the company says in recent times is being driven by latest trends and technological advancement as vehicles are now more systematic and computerised.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Enyo, Abayomi Awoboku, “ In many countries around the world, the automotive industry plays both a strategic and catalytic role in economic development in respect of the GDP contribution. Awoboku says “if Nigeria must play globally and compete in the development in the automobile sector, there is a need for stakeholders to invest in human capital development and technology, in order to improve after sales challenges and meet up with the paradigm shift in the industry”.
Further emphasizing the importance of the training, the CEO of Enyo stressed that “Automotive has changed in terms of the electronics we have in them and it was expected that technology will continue to develop so we need to look at how we can maintain the vehicles we have on our roads”.
The training is meant to expose the mechanics across the country to the technological advancements in the diagnosis and repairs of modern day vehicles while the skills they acquire will would provide them the relevant education and branding ability needed for market place relevance. The programme further aims to train a new generation of auto mechanics that will understand the workings of today’s high-tech vehicles to grow their own capacities now and in the future.
According to OICA reports, the auto industry worldwide spends over US$100 bn annually on Research and Development due to the importance of the industry, which is said to be capable of creating significant good quality employment and a wide range of technologically advanced manufacturing opportunities.
In South Africa, the auto industry alone contributes 7% of GDP and 12% of exports and is the second largest employer of labour. It employs directly and indirectly, 600,000 people in Egypt and attracted an investment of over $5 billion.
The training partner and Chief Executive Officer of Auto Medics, Kunle Shonaike, believes Nigeria is very important to the global automotive business as nearly all brands in the industry compete for a share to capture the market. Though he lamented the challenges of automobile maintenance in Nigeria. The US trained automobile technician noted that “proper maintenance standards have eluded vehicle owners and users in Nigeria, especially in the face of unprofessionalism and the largely unregulated readily available roadside operations”.
“I urge all the stakeholders, not to allow the litany of challenges evident in the sector to squeeze the life out of the industry. We all need to utilize a strategic platform as this one to draw attention to happenings in the sector through our active participations. This is why, despite the daunting challenges we have been facing, we have resolved to ensure we promote standards through trainings such as this” he emphasized.
One of the trainees added that not many auto mechanics have the manpower skill and technology, capable of handling the repairs of modern vehicles hence the training will afford them good exposure on proper vehicular diagnosis with state-of-the-art equipments.
He said: “Vehicle technology has changed a lot over the past few decades and there is increased computerisation in most vehicles these days. This means that a competent mechanic today has to be very familiar with the use of diagnostic equipments and should be able to understand and interpret technical information provided by the equipment,”
According to him, the ability to afford proper testing equipment and other repair tools including type of equipment required to do a good job on a vehicle (for proper diagnosing, testing, inspecting, de-coupling, raising a vehicle etc.) are not cheap and as such puts several mechanics at a disadvantage.
The auto mechanical technician training which was powered by Mech Tech is expected to be rounded off with a graduation ceremony later in the year.