In a bid to address the alarming unemployment crisis in Nigeria, particularly among the youths, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said there is need for more educational options to boost apprenticeship scheme in the country.
Ari who said this at the 2nd National Skill Summit held on Thursday in Abuja, said the present educational system has failed to meet the requisite skills needed in the country.
Ari said this at the 2nd National Skills Summit held on Thursday in Abuja with theme, “Institutionalizing apprenticeship and traineeship for national development.”
The event was attended by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Mariam Katagum, the Minister of Women Affairs Pauline Tallen, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry Evelyn Ngige, and other stakeholders involved in skills acquisition.
He said the present educational system has failed to meet the requisite skills needed in the country.
He said: “With the high unemployment rate in the country, it will not be farfetched to conclude that our current model of learning has failed to live up to its purposes and therefore, the need to consider additional educational options that will serve to boost our national apprenticeship scheme.
“I believe that this summit will provide us with the platform to finally articulate strategies for a robust apprenticeship scheme in the country”.
With the theme “Institutionalizing apprenticeship and traineeship for national development”, the ITF DG said the choice of the theme was deliberate because of soaring unemployment and poverty rate in Nigeria.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics Unemployment and Underemployment Report of Q4 2020, the number of unemployed persons in the economically active or working age (15 to 65) was put at 122,049,400. Of this number, 69, 675,468 Nigerians were willing to work, but only 46,488,079 in paid employment.
“The report showed that over 23 million Nigerians that were qualified and willing to work were without jobs.
“It also showed that the unemployment rate among the youth (people between 15 to 35 years) was up by eight per cent from 34.9 per cent to 42.5 per cent, which was the highest among other age groupings within the period under review.
” Despite this high unemployment rate, especially among the youths, a Skills Gap Assessment of Six Priority Sectors of the National Economy conducted by the ITF in collaboration with the United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO) revealed that rather than the absence of jobs, vacancies still exist in several sectors of the national economy that either could not be filled by Nigerians because of the lack of requisite skills or were being filled by foreigners.
“The question that arises from this paradox is, how can we plug these gaps using apprenticeship? The answer to this question can be found in countries such as Germany, China, Australia, USA and others that at various times faced similar challenges such as we are contending.
“What they did was to pour greater investments in skills acquisition and apprenticeship training,” Ari said.
The ITF DG said the agency it its fifty years of existence, has pursued its mandate of empowering Nigerians with single-mindedness and vigour, training over 22 million Nigerians.
He said the contributions of these 22 million Nigerians to the growth of the various sectors of the national economy cannot be easily quantified adding that between 2010 and 2019 alone, the agency liaised with a total of 1,353 companies for the promotion of in-company apprenticeship activities, visited and appraised 1,146 companies to determine their potential to conduct apprentice training in identified trade areas.
In addition, Ari said the ITF harmonized 444 existing In-company apprenticeship schemes of companies in line with the ITF National Apprenticeship scheme, installed the scheme in 286 companies as well as monitored 831 companies, leading to the training of 36,397 most of whom are gainfully employed.
On his part, Richard Otunba Adebayo, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, noted that there was a huge vacuum of skilled power force in the country.
Adebayo represented by the Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb Maryam Katagum, said apprenticeship and traineeship, which is one aspect of skills acquisition will play a key role given the numerous advantages it offers and its efficacy in solving some of the challenges we are facing in climes it has been fully explored.
“Among its many comparative advantages, successful apprenticeships and traineeship have the potential to generate and build new skills, provide the most efficient way to train all-round craftsmen to meet present and future needs, assure an adequate supply of skilled workers to fill employment opportunities, assure the community of competent craftsmen, skilled in all aspects of their trade, provide the versatility necessary to meet changing conditions, open the door to new opportunities, improve your employability status, earn while you learn, gain industry-recognised qualifications, get a feel of the work environment, and gain hands-on experience,” Adebayo said.
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