Mr. Onuh Gowon is the Managing Director of First System Refinishes Limited, a frontline and award winning auto finishing company in the country. He spoke with Cliffsimeon Akalonu on the new Auto Painters Academy being promoted by his company
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO INTO AUTO PAINTERS ACADEMY?
We are being inspired to run the Academy as part of our corporate responsibility initiative for the young people in Nigeria. The aim and goal of the Academy is to reach and attract young school leavers and higher school graduates into painting, train and make them to become self-reliant. This, in essence will be our contribution in the reduction of unemployment in this country.
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE?
Students are required to have interest, passion and a view of the opportunities that awaits them after graduation. The students shall be coming in with an entry qualification not less than secondary school. They will be required to purchase our Form from the office of the Head of Administration of the School Board.
WHAT IS THE COURSE DURATION OF THIS ACADEMY?
The course duration is based on the entry qualification. Those with secondary school certificate will be 2 years (4 semesters) and those with higher institution certificate will be one year (2 semesters).
WHAT ARE THE COURSES FOR THIS ACADEMY?
Courses to be offered shall include but not limited to:
Introduction to Spray Painting
Practice of Spray Painting
Use of English
Basic Accounting
Body Shop Management
Basic Law of Contract
Entrepreneurship Development
Business Communication
Office Admin/Personnel
Legislation/Health, Safety & Environment
Note: At the end of the course students will be exposed into general painting skills, where they could be in position to identify and use basic painting tools. They will be able to understand body accuracy and resolve painting flaws.
ARE YOU IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ANY FIRM, INDIVIDUAL OR GOVERNMENT?
The answer is yes. We are in partnership with AKZO NOBEL of the NETHERLANDS, makers of SIKKENS Car Paint Refinishes. There is also an ongoing consultation with some institutions. This is in our attempt to create awareness, so that we can gain their required corporation to achieve our objective.
IS THERE FUTURE WORK PLAN PACK FOR GRADUATING STUDENTS?
The answer is yes. It is the need to fill the vacuum presently existing in this industry that had pushed us into the Academy. The industry is being run by unqualified hands, which at their level may not be qualified to work in organized Automobile companies. Both in Nigeria and even abroad, employment will be offered by Automobile companies. Many will emerge as Entrepreneurs who will be able to set up their own body shops. We shall continue to offer them technical expertise. Equally, there is plan on ground to line up with government agencies to support graduating students in terms of fund to set up their own workshops.

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