Feature: Skill training becomes key attraction of Chinese firm in Nigeria
by Olatunji Saliu
ABUJA, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Of all things that excite Nigerian Aminu Mohammed about working in a Chinese firm, it is the company's core policy to train and re-train its local employees that comes first.
This, according to Mohammed, a business communication and marketing manager at an Abuja regional office of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), offers good prospects to local employees.
Having benefited from such training programs while rising through the ranks to become a manager in the Chinese firm, he said the ongoing Nigerian railway modernization project, a countrywide rail modernization program, has offered even greater opportunity for the Chinese firm to positively touch the lives of its employees in the area of capacity building.
Mohammed is one of over 20,000 local workers hired by the CCECC in Nigeria, handling mainly road, bridge, and railway projects.
It had established itself as a top international brand in Nigeria after more than 30 years of localization efforts.
"The CCECC is trying a lot in imparting knowledge to the local people in terms of training, capacity development and so on," the Nigerian said.
Inside a camp in Idu, a fast-developing industrial area in Abuja, the Chinese firm has a training institute in which new and old workers are taught how to add value to the company through passion, loyalty, focus, and humility.
"I've grown with the company and hope to get to a higher managerial level," he said.
As the railway modernization project in Nigeria continues, as well as other projects handled by the CCECC, more local workers get trained and acquire more technical skills.
Mohammed noted that many local workers have been trained to operate, fabricate and manufacture the items used in the construction of rail, roads, and bridges.
"We have more people working in the workshops and in the fabrication stations. They were all taught by the Chinese," he said.
"Even after the construction, if they are not going on the next project, they can still use that knowledge that they have acquired to make something out of their lives."
Certainly, the local employees, too, have made a great contribution to the company's rapid development in Africa's most populous country, making it a win-win situation both for China and Nigeria.
The Chinese firm regularly sent Nigerian employees with potential to China to receive training so they could catch up with the latest technology in the construction industry.
"My experience with CCECC has been wonderful. I particularly like the fact that you are allowed to bring in your own ideas and suggestions. If it is good, the management will take it in," said Ade Oyefusi, a certified civil engineer.
Oyefusi said with his experience as an engineer working in CCECC, he has learned that "even though the technologies were designed and developed in China, they can be adapted for Nigeria."
"If I did not work here, I am not sure I would ever be able to get this kind of experience," he said.