German crafts build vocational training centre in Nigeria

Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH) • The project includes the gradual handover to the Nigerian partner

Nigerians learn to weld in a training workshop

The Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH) is a nationwide active service provider for all training facilities of the skilled crafts in Germany. It is funded by the chambers of crafts, the regional chamber of crafts associations and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH). 

The ZWH commands many years of experience in the field of vocational education and training and offers a broad range of demand-oriented educational services to maintain and increase the performance and competitive capability of the vocational training centres in the skilled crafts. These include, for instance, the development of training documents and training course concepts in preparation for the master craftsman certificate, for the purpose of inter-company vocational education and training and for the training of instructors as well as the preparation of demand analyses. In addition, the ZWH hosts an annual education conference in Berlin with about 500 participants and top-class guests from the worlds of politics, education and industry. The education conference is augmented by a trade fair.

The ZWH also regularly carries out national and international educational projects by public mandate. These include the contract for the construction of a vocational education and training centre in Port Harcourt; to this end, the ZWH has been maintaining a co-operation with the education ministry of the Nigerian federal state of Rivers since May 2013. Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his government have a great interest in providing the population with the opportunity of obtaining well-founded vocational qualifications to boost the economic competitiveness of the federal state and of the entire country. In 2012, the Nigerian governor visited German chambers of crafts and vocational training centres in the context of a delegation trip. He gathered information about the German dual system of vocational education and training and identified the ZWH as a competent partner.

In a first step, the conversion of a former primary school in Port Harcourt created the infrastructure for implementing training courses in various trades. At the new "Port Harcourt Technical and Vocational Centre" more than 2,000 course participants in up to twelve trades will receive either vocational training or continuing education over the course of six years. The training provision comprises short- and long-term courses as well as train-the-trainer programmes in Nigeria and in Germany.

During the first phase, the aim is to qualify 120 course participants in extra-occupational short-term courses of six months duration in the occupations plumbing and heating installer, electronics engineer for energy and building technology, tiler, paver and mosaic artisan as well as metal worker including welding. These continuing education courses will take place in Nigeria. Moreover, two groups of about 30 participants each are scheduled to attend a six-week train-the-trainer course in Germany. A first group of 28 prospective trainers from Nigeria has already been successfully trained in co-operation with the Frankfurt/Oder Chamber of Crafts.

20 Nigerian course participants are scheduled to complete a two- to four-year vocational education and training course in Germany with the intention of graduating with the journeyman or master craftsman certificate according to the German standard. The participants will receive vocational training remuneration that is funded by the Federal Republic of Nigeria within the framework of the project budget.

The selection of course participants takes place in close co-ordination with the education ministry of Rivers State. Most of them are school graduates and young adults with first work experience. Participants with more extensive work experience are selected for the six-month continuing education courses and the train-the-trainer programmes.

The training units and training programmes including the course curricula for the various trades are being developed in accordance with the technical framework conditions on site and the existing competences of the course participants. In addition, the close co-operation with the private industry sector is a prerequisite for the project's success. It ensures that the training provision corresponds to demand from businesses and that the apprentices are given subsequent employment prospects. Participants in the extra-occupational training courses can earn their living in parallel to attaining a qualification and are able to immediately put to practical use that which they have learnt.

Sustainability of the activities of the education centre will be ensured by preparing the local course instructors and trainers for their tasks by way of comprehensive qualification programmes. In addition to the German management of the vocational education and training centre, a Nigerian management board will be trained to ensure the successful handover of the institution to the contractee. The complete project is subdivided into four phases and is expected for completion in May 2019. At the beginning of the final phase in 2018, the full handover of the centre to the Nigerian partner will commence. 


This sucess story was first published in the iMOVE publication Developing Skills for Employability with German Partners • 8 Success Stories from Sub-Saharan Africa. The brochure was published in July 2014.

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Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH) • The project includes the gradual handover to the Nigerian partner