Strategies for improving practical Knowledge of Unskilled Artisans in the Ghanaian Construction Industry: the case of Kumasi Metropolis

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The number of skilled artisans in the construction industry has been on the dwindle since the second world war. Now, the growing world population propelling the need for more infrastructure is also creating an immature imbalance between the few skilled workers available and the jobs in the market. Hence, engendering the need for more workers to become skilled or obtain the practical knowledge required to perform on the job. This study was therefore formulated to devise strategies for improving the practical knowledge of unskilled artisans in the Ghanaian construction industry by using Kumasi as a case study. Adopting the positivist approach which informs the use of case studies and surveys, the purposive and convenience sampling techniques were used to reach the target population of this study. A total of fifty-nine questionnaires were retrieved from the survey, and adopting descriptive statistics, mean score ranking and relative importance index, the several parts of the questionnaires were strategically analysed. The reliability of the scale and internal consistency of the variables were checked by using the Cronbach Alpha Coefficient test. After analysis, it was identified that all the variables obtained from literature were all necessary and could be considered as important variables for knowing the level of practical knowledge of unskilled artisans, but the first highly ranked variables under this dimension are; understanding of workers rules and obligations; ability to take measurement and understand measuring instruments, and appreciation of site health and safety. The challenges of improving the practical knowledge of unskilled artisans identified from literature was also assessed by the respondents as important challenges with inappropriate instruction skills; personal behavioural factors, and lack of availability of the requisite facilities to improve practical knowledge ranking highest among the rest. The study also identified some of the strategies for improving practical knowledge of unskilled artisans, and among the variables identified, the following ranked highest; implementing on-the-job training; making skilled artisans’ jobs lucrative through better remuneration and competence-based training of workers. The key findings of the study led to understanding of how best unskilled artisans can gain practical knowledge to help fill the gap between jobs availability and availability of skilled artisans. The study finally recommended that the government should set-up training avenues, make the educational curriculum more practical and increase the attractiveness of skilled artisans’ jobs in the construction industry by incorporating pension schemes, good salary and end of service benefits.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Construction Technology and Management, College of Art and Built Environment in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Construction Management, 2019.
Artisans, Construction, Ghana, Knowledge, Productivity, Skills