In the world of work today, an average individual would always prefer a white-collar job to any other kind of employment opportunity.
This is coming as no surprise because it affords individuals a level of significant earnings that can at least make ends meet.
There is also the blue-collar job, which may be skilled or unskilled and typically involves manual labor with compensation usually received by an hourly wage.
Their job description usually involves them doing repairs and maintenance work.
Unlike white-collar jobs, individuals in the blue-collar category might not necessarily possess a first degree to secure employment. This however doesn’t imply that they lack the required skill to thrive in their profession.
Nowadays, it can be quite difficult to obtain the services of not just a skilled manual laborer but a safe and reliable one that won’t disappoint as it is common for individuals in that job category to display some level of incompetency and unreliability.
Owing to this, Hafsatu Shinkafi created a platform, AIKI Services which is on a mission to build a new collar sector in Nigeria.
A new collar worker according to her is an individual who develops technical and soft skills needed to work in the contemporary technology industry through non-traditional education.
Basically, the startup is a go-to and multi-sided web platform linking customers to skilled safe, reliable and qualified technicians through an instant request for premium electrical, refrigerator, plumbing and services.
The platform also offers other requested high-end product technical services.
Hafsatu, the Founder of AIKI Services took us through how the startup is redefining blue-collar employment in Nigeria.
Having a 5-year-old non-profit organization called I Am Change, and with her passion for developing the country, her inspiration to start AIKI Services was conceived from her social development work which led her to social entrepreneurship.
Hafsatu explained that the completely bootstrapped startup is an outsourcing and matching company for trained and certified MEP engineering technicians.
“The three major skills/aspects we focus on are maintenance work, installation work and repairs like AC repairs, Refrigerator repairs and electrical plumbing repairs.
AIKI technicians are trained and certified by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria, both of which are government agencies.”
According to her, the delegation of the German industry certifies AIKI’s technicians and also provides services through certificates.
“What we aim to do at AIKI services is to raise the standard of technical skills in Nigeria and also standardize the blue-collar sector and technicians in Nigeria.”, she added.
Mission and vision
On the startup’s mission, Hafsatu commented, “our immediate mission is to provide the most qualified technicians to the market through technological means and tools. As well as to raise the standard of technical skills in Nigeria.”
I general, AIKI aims to standardize the blue-collar sector in Nigeria especially technical skills and technicians.
The startup intends to do this by training blue-collar workers and uplifting the present training practices in Nigeria.
“We also intend to select the best technicians out there by using technological tools to access the technicians available in Nigeria and then further train and certify them in both hard and soft skills.
We believe that these are the things the average high skilled worker from a low skilled worker.”
How AIKI Services works
The technical aspect of AIKI Services is its web-based platform, while its technical tools are a WhatsApp bot and its website.
“WhatsApp is usually the first point of entry as a technical tool in Nigeria and it really works for us, so we’re going to tap into that.”, she explained
The startup is using its web-based platform to assess technicians and they have to pass the technical assessment tests before they get onboarded.
“We also accept job requests and customer requests on the platform. Our website is our first point of call for our customers and anyone looking for information about us or trying to contact us.”
AIKI’s Services journey
The startup has commenced operation but hasn’t officially launched, however it has partnered with ITF and AHK Nigeria (Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria).
According to the founder, these two agencies mentioned above usually scrutinize companies extensively before they approve them and go into partnership with them.
Currently, the startup is training 30 technicians with ITF Lagos and they will get an international certification from one of the best engineering countries in the world (i.e. Germany).
The current trainees got selected from a pool of 60 applicants.
“We have also gone through a rigorous one on one interviewing process with our technicians and we selected the best from a large number of them.”, Hafsatu added
Hafsatu who started her career in tech through the Founders Institute Accelerator program concluded that her prospects for the future is to become the market leader in terms of providing the best technicians in the market and technical skills requirements.
“Also, to add more technical skills and services and training to our list of services. We would also like to enter into the oil and gas manpower skills as we go forward.”, Hafsatu added
Featured Image: Hafsatu Shinkafi, Founder of AIKI Services
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