Engaging the youth on employment skills

As the spate of unemployment increases in the country, vocational skills development becomes a fertile avenue for creating jobs in Nigeria. ADEOLA TUKURU writes. 

Before now, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) identified over 20 million Nigerians as unemployed and yet technicians are imported, adding that the answer can only be that Nigerians have not fully embraced skills acquisition as a sustainable alternative to white collar jobs.

Unemployment and its consequences in Nigeria has steadily increased annually spanning a considerable length of time with an average population of 190 million stands at th

These trend has been restricted to certain courses studied in higher infected adversely.

The Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, at the just concluded 1st National Skills Summit organised by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in Abuja said this perception has led to skills shortages in trades and vocational areas that Nigerians should be well equipped to perform.

He opined that vocational skills acquisition can also identified to be an area which if keyed into could go a long way in ameliorating the negative impact of unemployment in Nigeria.

He also noted that  vocational skill acquisition is strengthened in Nigerian tertiary institutions so that such graduates could be self-employed thereby contributing the aggregate socio- economic fortunes of

Factors of skills acquisition 

He said another factor could be the disconnect between the schools and the needs of the industries, leading to a situation where it is not umcommon to hear employers lament the unemployability of graduates of our tertiary institutions.

He said although there are several other knotty problems, these highlight the enormity of the hurdles confronting the entrenching of skills acquisition culture in Nigeria.

“We conducted a Skills Gap Survey of Six Priority Sectors of the National Economy in liaison with the United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO), which remains the most reliable document currently on the skills gaps in the economy. 

Establishment of sector skills council 

“We also led sensitization efforts for the establishment of Sector Skills Councils as well as the need for a Labour Market Information culture in Nigeria.

“Our experience from this efforts has shown that no one organization can do it alone, this summit, therefore, provides a great opportunity for us to collaborate and come up with enduring solutions to the unemployment problem in Nigeria”.

He said it is with a view to addressing these that the ITF is organizing this skills summit with theme: “Skills for Employability and job creation and strategies for developing employability skills in Nigeria and industry needs  and education curricula, as sub themes”.

According to him, since the assumption of office of current management in the ITF, championed several initiatives to awaken national consciousness on the imperative of skills acquisition .

Beneficiaries of ITF’s NISDP

One of the beneficiaries of the skill acquisition, Blessing Pius, who was trained on Auto-Gele and Beauty Care at the just concluded National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) said the one month training was very impactful as she learnt a lot .

Blessing hails from Edo state and a graduate of University of Abuja said she is happy to be called a make-up artist adding that she has been able to use the knowledgeable she gained as a student to build her brand . 

She said since she graduated, she has been looking for a white collar job but with the training and the Starter packs, she will utilize it and also train others . 

On her future plans 

She said she plans to open a beauty shop adding that other unemployed youths shouldn’t wait at home for Government jobs but they should rather develop themselves through skill acquisition programs. 

Another beneficiary on skills acquisition 

Another beneficiary of the program on bead and neckless making, Deborah Isaac said so far she has had no regrets since she started the business which she affirms keeps food on her table. 

Debby popularly called “Debby beads” by her customers and friends , hails from Lagos state said she invested N12,000 in beads to make two necklaces, which she later sold for N18,000 naira, more than N6,000 profit! Debby has never searched for a job again.

She said today the value of her business stands at nearly N200,000 monthly and she shows no sign of letting off.

In a market full of bead necklace makers, Debby decided to set herself apart from the crowd and got on the internet to learn more intricate and creative ornament designs.

Her learning drive and determination earned her a scholarship to study Entrepreneurial Management at the Lagos Business School.

Interestingly, Debby never had any prior training in making bead jewelry.

Federal government on growth and employment 

The Federal government has been the major employer in Nigeria’s formal sector,the development of the economy and the growth of employment opportunities actually depend on the investment decision of the private sectors made up mainly of the major corporate investors and medium scale businesses.

This infers that government alone has never been able to meet up with the employment needs of her citizenry hence a need for skill development to cushion the gap.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi  Adebayo at the summit assured that the Federal government will continue to partner with the agency in addressing unemployment in the country

According to him, the federal government will work with ITF to deepen entrench skills in our system by changing the narratives through skills acquisition to bridge the gaps

Rising unemployment leading to insecurity 

Earlier, the Minister of State, Industry Trade and Investment, Amb Mariam Yalwaji Katagum said the summit, themed “Skills for employability and job creation” is coming at a crucial time in our life as a country, as the rising unemployment has led to the insecurity witnessed across Nigeria today. 

She said to address the insecurity challenges, “we will first of all have to create jobs by equipping Nigerians with skills to take advantage of the policies that have been put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari, while also striving to align our educational system to the current needs of the country by making skills acquisition and entrepreneurship training our focal point”.

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