The Industrial Training Fund, ITF, has restated its committment towards reducing unemployment in the country through the Fund’s skills and vocational training programmes.
The Director General of ITF, Mr Joseph Ari stated this in Abuja during the unveiling of the Agency’s
Framework for National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, NATS, tagged “Skill For Prosperity’
Mr Ari said the programme is another vocational training scheme of ITF, to tackle incidences of high unemployment within the ranks of youths in the country.
He underscored the importance of skill acquisition as a panacea to solving rising unemployment challenge in Nigeria.
The ITF Director General described the scheme as a double edge unemployment solution because it has potential to drastically reduce unemployment and give youths the opportunity to earn income while learning, enhance eligibility for financial assistance while on training, and also engage a sizeable number of youths since it does not require formal education as a prerequisite.
“In addition, a functional National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System will ensure a structured approach to skills acquisition and certification leading to an increase in the number of MSMEs and the expansion of existing ones, a reduction in unemployment, underemployment, social vices and crime rates, and improvement in the quality of services of Technicians and Craftsmen”He stated.
According to him, enriching the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System with international certification for the various vocational trades will promote balanced employment and competition amongst our youths, just as it will serve as a viable source of foreign earnings for the country through the export of skills.
Mr Ari who was optimistic of NATS’ potential to change the employment situation in Nigeria said his conviction was premised on countries such as Germany, China, Austria, the USA and others who, at various times faced similar challenges Nigeria is contending with today and completely altered their situations with greater investments in skills acquisition and apprenticeship training.
” For instance, in Germany, about two decades ago, in the face of mass unemployment with roughly five million unemployed people and low employment rates to the extent that it was labelled “the sick man in Europe”, it opted for apprenticeship training” He stressed.
The Director General explained that today, nearly two-thirds of young Germans are enrolled in apprenticeships once they leave full-time education using the German Dual Vocational and Educational Training, DVT, nine out of ten young trainees get a permanent job at the end, with others being offered shorter-term contracts.
“Today, Germany is dubbed a job wonderland and European champion with regard to its high employment rates”.
“Borrowing a leaf from these success stories and taking into account our youth unemployment, which has continued to be on the rise and coupled with our commitment to the realisation of the objectives of the National Youth Employment Plan (NIYEP) 2021-2024 that is targeted at finding solutions for young people that are seeking decent and productive jobs, the ITF came up with a new Strategic Policy Direction 2022-2025 with the theme: Re- Engineering Skills for Sustainable Development” Mr Ari stressed.
He pointed out that the policy is focused on the adoption and institutionalisation of the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, NATS, noting that for the organization aspirations to be met, it requires synergy and collaboration from all stakeholders involved in TVET.
He explained that ITF was in collaboration with NECA under the Technical Skills Development Project, TSDP, which had already trained over fifty-five thousand Nigerians.
” We are also in collaboration with several other organizations including Skills4Prosperity in our quest to institutionalise NATS in Nigeria. Indeed, S4P has been an invaluable partner in the development of this framework. But apart from the aforementioned, the ITF is in discussion with Rohde & Schwarz from Germany for higher education innovation and youth employability in Nigeria and the company has expressed its desire to use the Industrial Training Fund as a gateway to bringing innovation into Nigeria for the benefit of the youth..
In her remark, National Team Lead, Skills for prosperity Nigeria, SAP- N, Mrs. Sybil Ferris said the program had presence in many states .
In a goodwill message, the representative of the World Bank said the Bank plans to support Nigeria’s technical and vocational training with $200m.
The event was attended by United Kingdom’s Skill for Prosperity, SAP, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA and other stakeholders in the skills and vocational training sector.
BY MATHEW AYOOLA,EDITEDBY GRACE NAMIJI