By Akintola Benson Oke
Again on the myriad of challenges that governments face to make the most of human resources, the article profoundly notes that governments face a number of challenges to make the most of available skills and that getting the best returns on investment in skills requires the ability to assess the quality and quantity of the skills available in the population, determine and anticipate the skills required in the labour market, and develop and use those skills effectively in better jobs that lead to better lives. These represent major challenges in developing countries where data on the available skills is of poor quality and the demand for skills, present and future, is often a black box.”
Other challenges identified include the fact that skills policy requires coherence and co-operation across all areas and levels of government, as well as with the private sector, social partners, teachers and parents. Skills development is more effective if the world of learning and the world of work are linked.
Compared to purely government-designed curricula taught exclusively in schools, learning in the workplace offers several advantages: it allows young people to develop “hard” skills on modern equipment in a workplace, and “soft” skills, such as teamwork, communication and negotiation, through real-world experience. Hands-on workplace training can also help to motivate disengaged youth to stay in or re-engage with the education system and to smoothen the transition from education into the labour market.
Again, maintaining skills throughout each individual’s lifecycle is another key challenge that has been identified because it requires setting up high-quality, easily accessible opportunities for adult learning – both up-skilling and re-training. This is particularly challenging in developing countries where participation in initial education remains an issue for a sizeable share of the population. In these countries, action will have to balance carefully equal access and completion of lower-secondary education and further learning in school and for adults.
What are the specific human resources management needs of the Civil Service. In an article written for the United Kingdom Cabinet Office, the following observations were made: “The Civil Service is a good place to work, delivering services that make a huge difference to people’s lives. It employs many talented people from diverse backgrounds who are committed to delivering excellent public services. The Civil Service relies on the skills of its people. We have historic strength in policy and analytical skills and have made significant progress in recent years, professionalising finance and HR skills. However, there are significant gaps in organisational capability and individuals’ skills which need to be filled if the Civil Service is to be able to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.”
In order to meet these challenges, four priorities were identified. These priorities fully apply to our dear Civil Service as we engage with the CIPM in the effort to continue the revitalisation of the human resources component of the service:
The Human Resources in the Civil Service Must Lead and Manage Change –Change is a constant feature of the modern Civil Service. We need to manage these changes and ensure that our teams are equipped to embrace new ways of working.
The Human Resources in the Civil Service Must Acquire Commercial Skills and Behaviours – This calls for ensuring that many more civil servants feel confident and competent in a world where services are increasingly commissioned from the private and voluntary sectors. We need to take decisions and assess risk based on our knowledge of markets and be judged on whether taxpayers’ money has been spent wisely to deliver the right outcome.
The Human Resources in the Civil Service Must Deliver Successful Projects and Programmes – This calls for increasing our ability to deliver the Government’s priorities, ‘right first time’, drawing on project management disciplines and methodologies to achieve predictable, consistent, robust results.
The Human Resources in the Civil Service Must Be Capable of Redesigning Services and Delivering Them Digitally – ensuring that the Civil Service is equipped to redesign services around the user in order to improve delivery, value for money and agility for the future, using the power of digital.
Luckily for Lagos State, we have, at this point in history, an administration that is wholly and totally devoted to advancing the agenda for making Lagos one of the best-served states in terms of the quality of the Civil Service. We also have an institute that has demonstrated the commitment and capabilities to provide the technical input and impetus required to realise this noble agenda.
For this reason, His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is proud to serve as the Chief Host of the CIPM HR Best Practice Awards Ceremony. He commends the vision of the Governing Council of the institute in initiating these awards and offers hearty congratulations to the 2017 awardees. Please be challenged and encouraged to do even more to further the important cause of promoting excellence in human resources management in Nigeria.
Dr. Akintola, Benson Oke, Honourable Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions delivered this address on behalf of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, as chief host at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria Best Practice Awards Ceremony.