Ukpono Ukpong – Abuja
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, has expressed Nigeria’s willingness to partner the Kingdom of the Netherlands in capacity-building to tackle the challenges of unemployment in the country.
Alo stated this when the team in charge of Education and Consular Affairs from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, led by David Van Kampen, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Special Duties/Projects, Dr. Martina Nwordu, noted that the present situation in the country where graduates wait for employment after graduation on account of lack of upgraded facilities in the already existing skills acquisition centres across the country called for concern.
He said there was need for functional training centers where graduates of different disciplines would be trained further in vocations like ICT, Solar Installation, Fashion Design, Electrical/Electronics, Plumbing, Tiling and Hair Dressing, among others, to make them employable, and also employers of labour.
According to him, “The Ministry is currently discussing with the Private Sector and the National Universities Commission (NUC) on the need to upgrade the curricula of the school systems, so that we can compete favourably in the Labour market, not just at national or regional level, but also globally.
There is also need for a functional database that would help in alleviating the unemployment situation in the country’’.
Earlier, in his remarks, the leader of the team, Mr. David Van Kampen, acknowledged the existence of a bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the Netherlands in the education sector, and the provision of scholarships to Nigerians over the years.
He said the purpose of their visit was to find out what Nigeria needed in the area of capacity-building in the labour sector, the scope of the collaboration in relation to education, and to facilitate training between universities, noting that some Dutch universities with expertise in specific areas had been identified.
He disclosed the Netherlands’ willingness to assist in training Nigerians on entrepreneurial soft skills and enhancing collaboration between interested partners.