By TOM CHIAHEMEN, Abuja –
Director-General/Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph N. Ari, has identified skills acquisition the most viable and sustainable solution to rising unemployment and poverty that have continued to defy the best efforts of Governmental and non-Governmental approaches.
Ari, who stated this at the closing ceremony of the 2019 National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) in Abuja on Monday, said it was for this reason that over 200,000 Nigerians nationwide and 18,000 from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had been equipped with skills for employability and entrepreneurship through the NISD of the ITF.
He noted that there were countless reasons for Government and the ITF to worry about the unemployment situation in the country, given the terrible damage that unemployment had wrought on all facets of national life.
According to Sir Ari, “no reasonable analysis will divorce unemployment from the needless incidents of violence that have claimed thousands of lives across the Nation.”
“It will equally be difficult to separate rising criminality and harmful social vices that are being perpetrated by Nigerians because of unemployment and the attendant poverty,” he added.
“Consequently, our population that ordinarily should be a resource, may become an albatross if we cannot provide a greater proportion of our population with a source of livelihood,” he warned.
He explained that the NISDP was one of the numerous skills acquisition intervention programmes introduced and implemented by the Fund to facilitate the achievement of the Federal Government policy on job and wealth creation. It focuses on skills acquisition to create jobs to stem rampant unemployment and breed a new generation of entrepreneurs, in order to transform the economic landscape of the country.
“This phase of the programme, which closing ceremony is taking place today, commenced in the last quarter of 2019. The training lasted between 3 and 6 months, depending on the trade. In all, over 11,000 Nigerians were equipped with skills in 9 trades namely, Leather Works (Shoe and Bag Making), Welding and Fabrication, Catering and Event Management, Tiling, Production and Laying of Interlock Tiles, Furniture Making, Domestic Electrical Wiring and Installation, Solar Energy Installation, Plumbing and Pipefitting, and Autogelle and Beauty Care,” he said.
In the FCT, 300 youths were trained in Welding and Fabrication, Domestic Electrical Wiring and Installation, Catering and Event Management, Solar Energy Installation and Autogelle and Beauty Care.
“We believe that given the intensity and the very practical nature of the training, which was 80 percent practical and 20 percent theory, they were equipped with the necessary skills and attitudes for them to thrive as employees or as entrepreneurs. When tied with the trades, which were chosen after careful and in-depth need analysis of their locales, we have no doubt they will thrive, as trades they have learned will always be needed,” said the ITF DG.
Stressing that the Federal Government’s were clearly not enough in view of the magnitude of the unemployment confronting the nation, Ari appealed to State Governments, the Organised Private Sector (OPS), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), Faith-Based Organisations, Politicians and other stakeholders to collaborate with the ITF in our efforts to train Nigerians.
“It could be by way of sponsorship of additional trainees for our various skills programmes, or by buying start-up packs for beneficiaries of the programmes. Only through such collaborations will the Fund be able to train as many youths to impact the Nigerian environment,” he said.