The Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity is the sole government agency vested with the responsibility of issuing certificate of competence (Trade Test Certificates) to qualified tradesmen. Trade testing is the process of properly assessing and classifying tradesmen in different skills or trades and awarding certificates of competence of grades III, II and I to persons so tested as evidence of the person’s proven ability.
The Ministry conducts Trade Tests at Trade Test workshops for grading the skills of the employed and unemployed (but employable) tradesmen and students of vocational training schools and technical colleges. The tests are conducted I more than 46 trades under the supervision of experienced professional staff and specialist testers. The trade test certificate issued by the Ministry presents a unique opportunity for generation jobs and ensuring placement.
The Trade Test Service also provides standard grading for artisans and craftsmen which facilitates access to better paid jobs or work as self-employed persons. It provides Nigerians with a standard validation of tradesmen’s qualifications. Workers passing any of the grades are given certificates of competency and employers are assured that any applicant for employment possessing these certificates has reached the standard of skill indicated on the certificate. There is ongoing effort in the Ministry to reinvigorate Trade Test Services and transform the Trade Test certificate into a model product bounded on all sides by sound ethical practice. Effort is also being made to introduce certificate of competence in such emerging trades as computer repairs, satellite disc installation, film and photography, tailoring and fashion design, plumbing and pipe fitting, carpentry and joinery etc. the Ministry will not relent I its ongoing effort in retooling trade Test centres to meet the needs and aspirations of end users.
Skills Upgrading Services
In reaction to the prevailing high rate of unemployment in the country, the federal government, in 1986, set up a committee to study and make recommendations that would assist in reducing the increased rate of unemployment, especially among the youths. One of the recommendations of the Committee that was accepted by government was the need for the ministry of Labour to establish Skill Upgrading Training Centres with the technical assistance of the International Labour organization (ILO) and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP). The centres amongst others, were expected to provide skill upgrading to holders Trade Test Class II in 14 trades and training to other selected trainees with potential for self-employment. The Centres were equally to assist the technical workforce adapt to new concepts brought about by technological advancements as well as provide opportunities for in-depth practical training for graduates of technical colleges, Polytechnics and other tertiary institutions for entrepreneurial skills.
The yawning skills gap between turn-out of some skill acquisition centres and industry requirement is what the skill upgrading training centres seek to bridge. The skill upgrading centres therefore upgrade the skills of poorly trained artisans and craftsmen and equip them with high tertiary) level skills which facilitate access to better paid jobs or work as self-employed persons.
The Ministry of Labour already has 5 functional Skill Upgrading Training Centres located at Kaduna, Ibadan, Bauchi, Lagos and Calabar. The Centres upgrade the skills of poorly trained artisans and craftsmen and equip them with high technical skills that meet the needs of employers. The centres offer both theoretical and practical training in all the trades. Admission to the centres is open to tradesmen who have undergone 3 years apprenticeship training or have graduated from technical colleges and worked for at least one year. At the end of their training, qualified tradesmen are issue Trade Test Certificates after passing the requisite trade test.
The centres provide a good avenue for workers to develop technical skills for higher level efficiency in the service. The course content, syllabus and curriculum have always been revised and redesigned to meet with the needs of present day technology. Each centre has the capacity to train 800 trainees per year. The Centres presently run the following programmes:
i. A two-year (24-month) training for graduates of secondary schools and other higher institutions.
ii. A twenty-four-weeks (6-month) intensive course for technologists, craftsmen and technicians already working in public and private sectors of the economy.
iii. A twelve-week (3-month) intensive course for workers, both in public and private sectors, as well as post-retirement business training. It is the ultimate plan of government to have at least a centre in every State capital and the Federal Capital Territory.
The Underlisted Trades Are Approved And Contained In The Trade Testing Syllabus.
i. Auto Mechanic’s work
ii. Audio Visual Equip, Mechanic
iii. Auto Electrician Work
iv. Automotive Mechatronics
v. Blacksmith
vi. Bricklaying & Masonry
vii. Cabinet Making
viii. Carpentry & Joinery
ix. Carpentry (Boating making)
x. Ceramic, Brick & Pottery making
xi. Coach Building
xii. Computer craft work
xiii. Driver Mechanic work
xiv. Driver Mechanic work (EMM)
xv. Electrical Fitting
xvi. Electrician work (D&I)
xvii. Filming/Event videographer Metal Fabrication
xviii. Metal Machining
xix. Motor body Building
xx. Spray painting
xxi. Stream Fitting
xxii. Tailoring 7 Dressing making
xxiii. Television mechanic work
xxiv. Turning
xxv. Vulcanizing & Tire work
xxvi. Weaving (Textile)
xxvii. Weaving (Blind)
xxviii. Welding (Gas)

A Proposal has been submitted to include new emerging trades in the Trade Test Syllabus. Most of them require an independent status.
The trades are:
i. Plaster of Paris (P.O.P)
ii. Tiling
iii. Beads making
iv. Hats making
v. Tie and die
vi. Scaffolding work
vii. Pipe welding
viii. Aluminum work
ix. Automotive mechatronics
x. Satellite Dish and Telephone Mechanic work
xi. Plant and Generator Mechanic work
xii. Glass and plastic work
xiii. Marine Mechanic work
xiv. Driver/ Mechanics work (Earth moving)
xv. Piggery
xvi. Poultry.
This will promote technological expansion thus reducing unemployment to a greater extent.