JOBS & ‘Your school knowledge can enhance your business’
Mr Abayomi Olatunbosun is a Kaduna based printer who is very passionate about his profession. Though he earned a National Diploma in Human Resource Management in Kaduna Polytechnic in 2007 he still chose to remain a printer because of the love he has for it. According to him, going to school does not mean you must work under someone, he said you can be a graduate and abandon the certificate to work for yourself and employ others. He said he went to school not because he wanted a white collar job but because he wanted knowledge to enhance his printing job.
How did you come about printing?
I came from a humble background and I did not get financial support from anyone to further my education and I so much desired to be educated and become somebody in life. So I decided to acquire skills in printing so as to raise money to go to school. I learnt printing for three years from 2002 to 2005 before going for my OND.
What would you have loved to become, had you not gone into printing?
As a growing child then, my ambition was to become an accountant but my dream did not eventually come to pass due to circumstances around me.
Why didn’t you study accounting in school since you had a dream of becoming an accountant?
I actually applied for Accountancy in Kaduna Polytechnic but instead I was offered admission in Human Resource Management. Even though it was not what I wanted, I decided to accept the offer so that I can have a little educational background and because I also know that in Nigeria it is not what you study that matters but your certificate and truly, the knowledge I acquired in school has helped me tremendously.
How has your school knowledge helped you and your business?
It has really helped me and is still helping me in the area of approaching people especially my clients, it gives me courage to re-modernize my business premises unlike others who don’t have education background.
Have you ever looked for job with your certificate?
I have not because I actually went to school not because I wanted to work for anybody but to gain knowledge of becoming a better employer of labour and I thank God because my knowledge in school makes me a better person and also a better manager of my business and manager of my employees. It also helps me to give touch of professionalism to my printing work. I always ensure that my work is unique.
What kind of printing do you do?
I print jotters, calendars, notebooks, text books, flex, handbills, posters, banners, souvenirs for wedding, birthday and other occasions. I also publish books and other forms of printing.
What does it take to become a printer?
It takes self-determination and readiness to learn under someone for at least three years. Then you have to be creative so that your work can unique and different from that of your colleagues. You also need to able to appreciate aesthetic value and make yourself distinctive among others and maintain cordial relationship with your clients, with this, you will make money but the money ought to be used in procuring the needed machine for your work so that you can work better and have more clients.
What is your assessment of the business?
Well, it is a very good business and whoever comes into it will have no regret. In fact we have a lot of graduates who are printers due to lack of employment. All they need is a little training to master the work and before they know what is happening, they will forget that they have a certificate because the work is very lucrative and if you are creative and have connection, you will get big jobs.
What are the challenges associated with your kind of business?
Finance is the major challenge, with my knowledge in printing, there is no amount you invest that is too much or that you will regret. The machines we use for printing are very expensive and until you get those machines before people will have confidence that you are capable of handling their work. There are different types of machines used in printing including Kord machine, which cost about N4million; the next one to Kord machine is popularly known as GTO which cost about N1.7million; laminating machine, which cost about N400, 000; exposing machine, which cost about N80, 000; MOV machine, this is more automatic and the latest machine now is speed master machine; in fact I don’t think anybody has the speed machine in Kaduna for now but you can find it in Lagos.
Another challenge with this work is that you have to be very careful not to involve yourself in forgery because a lot of people will bring receipt, certificate and other sensitive documents for you to print for them. As a knowledgeable print, you need to ask for LPO to enable you know that the authorities of the organisation are aware of the printing or you go to the organisation to find out, in order not to land yourself into trouble.
What other materials do you use for printing and where do you get the materials?
We make use of laminating films which we buy in bundle from Lagos. There are four rolls of the film in each bundle, we also have plain and designed film. Also we make use of printing plates which is used for exposing the designed work before taking to press for final printing. We have different sizes of plate including 201, GTO size, sort size and kord size among others.
Do you still nurse the dream of becoming an accountant?
No, I don’t any longer. My dream now is to establish a very big press in Nigeria, the only challenge if finance but I am very proud to be a printer because there are many jobless graduates out there doing nothing, so I am proud of what I am doing. Presently I have a graduate with me whom after graduation found it difficult to secure a white collar job; so he decided to come and join me and we are working together.
What has the printing work helped you to achieve?
To the glory of God, I was able to acquire my OND through money gotten from printing; I am also married now with a child and I am an employer of labour. I still believe God for expansion for that I can employ more people to work with me. Though I presently have the GTO machine, laminating machine and exposing machine among others but I still desire to buy the latest machines for my printing work.
What is your advise to unemployed graduates out there?
My advise to them is that they should not wait for government to provide job for them but they on their part should also try to be creative. Everybody have a gift and until you discover what you are at doing, you may not make headway in life. One important thing for them to know is that it is not a crime to be a graduate and an entrepreneur, so I believe that if they apply the knowledge they acquired in school to their business, I tell you they will do better than their colleagues who have not gone to school. Not all professional printers are graduates, so the school knowledge will make you stand out and will help enhance your business. You can imagine the number of job seekers that died in the Immigration tragedy, this is worrisome; our graduates need to wake up and begin to help themselves since the jobs are not available. Some people have problem of pride and a feeling of how can I be a graduate and be working as a printer, such people need to swallow their pride and despise not the days of little beginning. Rome was not built in a day; their little business could in future turn into a very big company that both national and international markets will reckon with.