Philip Clement, Abuja
The federal government has stated that the partnership between the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has led to trained over 54,600 technicians in various vocations under the Technical Skills Development Project(TSDP).
Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Joseph Ari stated this in Abuja at a media briefing amd signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Participating Organisations in the Project explained that the Project started in 2010.
He also explained that some of the trainees of the Project have been provided with business start-up grants while others were linked to corporate employers for direct employment.
While reeling out some of the giant strides recorded since the establishment of the Project, 12 years ago, Ari said 59 organisations across the country have been supported with technical equipment as well as 10 Technical Colleges upgraded through the supply of modern training equipment and tools.
He noted that the Technical Skills Development Project was initiated with the overall objective, “to promote the availability of manpower with appropriate technical and vocational skills to meet the identified needs of the industries as well as make beneficiaries employable with entrepreneurial skills.”
The Director General of ITF contended that unemployment in Nigeria is occasioned by lack of skills acquisition and skills mismatch, adding that sometimes where job vacancies exist, there are no Nigerians with requisite and technical know-how to fill them, owing to skills mismatch.
Ari therefore, called for stronger collaboration between public and private sectors of the economy to create jobs, generate wealth and defeat poverty in Nigeria.
According to him, “The ITF and NECA have been advocating that this country should pay attention to technical and vocational skills.
“But our calls have always fallen on deaf ears. However, of recent, we have seen members of both the public and private sectors taking a cue and listening to these clarion calls from ITF and NECA.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this is the only direction to go, if we are to fix the infrastructural deficit and get our people empowered with requisite skills.
“This is what nations across the world have done to defeat unemployment. We cannot afford to be left behind.
“Acquisition of certificates is good but it cannot fix infrastructure. We shall, therefore, continue to make this clarion call, until all Nigerians embrace technical skills because it is the way to go in fixing the rots in our country.”
Ari further identified funding constraints, high rate of unemployed youths that the Project cannot absorb, lack of awareness and infrastructural deficit as some of the challenges confronting the Project.
He, however, pledged the irrevocable commitment of ITF and NECA to its sustenance in a bid to create a new lease of life for unemployed Nigerians as well as change the narrative towards the development of technical and vocational skills.
He also urged the critical stakeholders to work together, rather than in silos, reminding them that “skills acquisition is the only viable solution to youth unemployment and other social vices bedevilling the country.”
The highpoint of the event was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ITF and other participating organisations drawn from both the public and private sectors of the economy.