Sir Joseph Ari, Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) on Thursday said adequate acquisition of relevant skills by Nigerians will go a long way to address the nation’s unemployment problem.
Sir Ari, said this at a press conference on ITF-NECA Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) and the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with participating organisations in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
TSDP, is a joint initiative by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) designed to promote the availability of middle-level manpower with the appropriate Technical and Vocational Skills to meet the identified needs of industries in the country.
Ari, said 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
He said: What you are about to witness is the perfect example of how the public private partnership can work. The two body that is the Nigeeia Employers’ Constructive Association (NECA) and Industrial Training Fund (ITF) have been advocating for this country to delve into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) but out calls have always fallen on deaf ears.
However, of recent, we have seen members of both the public and private body taking a cue and falling in line and listening to these yearnings and clarion calls from NECA and ITF.
“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 other nations in other climes have done to get to where they are and where they are now today known as the first world. The are where they are today on account of TVET and we cannot be left behind.
“Paper qualification is good but without skills you can’t fix infrastructure. Therefore, we shall continue to sing this clarion call, until all Nigerians embrace technical skills as the way to go in fixing the rots in our country.”
Speaking further on the Technical Skills Development Project, Sir Ari said the scheme has produced over 54,000 technicians in various vocations since inception twelve years ago.
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.
“From mere six participating organizations that trained and graduated 285 highly skilled technicians when it commenced in 2010, the project today boasts of having supported fifty-nine participating organizations and technical colleges with machinery and technical equipment, while also graduating 54,603 highly skilled technicians that are either employed in corporate organizations or have become entrepreneurs that are employing others,” Sir Ari said.
Ari, however, 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 scheme.
Speaking on the sidelines, Director, Learning Development and Project, NECA, Celine Oni said for the 12 years the project has been on, there has been positive good results which is very evident.
She said: “This project was conceived based on lack of skills in our economy and surveys conducted by the ITF and NECA in 2009 and several other surveys therefore, confirmed the fact that we had low capacity level, lack of skills and huge unemployment in our country.
“The project rose to the call to address this issues and we decided to contribute our own bit to solving this national problem and so far we are very happy that in the twelve years of the project, they have improved results.
“Over 54,000 youths so far in the project have graduated as competent technicians that are either working in organisations currently or are running their businesses and are now Employers of labour.
Oni, further said the Memorandum of Understanding signed by 30 participating organizations is to ensure global standard training for trainees to enable them compete globally.
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