Discipline training to resolve chronic trade skills in construction

Fiji's construction industry can resolve its chronic trade skills shortage by following Singapore’s example, says Fiji Master Builders Association President Vijay Raghwan. Picture: FT FILE

FIJI’S construction industry can resolve its chronic trade skills shortage by following Singapore’s example, says Fiji Master Builders Association President Vijay Raghwan.
Citing the lack of discipline and ethics within the workforce as another serious concern, Mr Raghwan has also suggested cadet training or maybe even compulsory military training like in Singapore.
This, he believes would instill “discipline and structure”.
“That is one of Singapore’s basic ingredients for such a highly productive, disciplined and focused workforce,” Mr Raghwan said.
He said unless entry requirements for vocational training were reviewed by policymakers, skills shortages would continue.
“From my 40 years in the industry, I have found that most, if not all, of our workers, are those that may not have reached form six, but are good with their hands, and with on the job training over the years have become very skilled tradespeople.
“The reality is that a student with a form six pass will most likely choose higher university education instead of picking up a hammer or learning block laying in vocational training.”
The founder of Raghwan Construction is also one of the local construction industry’s enduring personalities and current President of the Fiji Master Builders Association (FMBA), which is also a member of umbrella body, the Construction Industry Council (CIC).
With training as one of the key issues to be discussed at the upcoming CIC June 14-16 conference at Warwick Fiji, Mr Raghwan said while there was some value to short-term training trade certificates, it needed to be reviewed into longer specialised training.

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