The Federal Government has pledged to continue skills acquisition programmes across Nigeria to deepen the economy estimated at $420bn.
Speaking at the ITF-NECA Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) Stakeholders’ Dialogue Forum in Abuja, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, said nations confronted the challenges of poverty, soaring unemployment and related challenges with skills acquisition, noting that Nigeria must do the same.
“We must do the same, as we have one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. It is with this realization that the Federal Government initiated measures to encourage agencies vested with the mandate of equipping Nigerians with employable skills to escalate skills acquisition to all Nigerians,” she said.
Katagum said though agencies like the Industrial Trust Fund had taken advantage of relevant government policies to train hundreds of thousands of Nigerians through various skills intervention programmes, more still needed to be done for the rapid growth and development of the nation’s economy.
“The need for greater collaboration and synergy amongst various organisations in both the public and private sectors cannot be overemphasised. I, therefore, urge other agencies of Government to borrow a leaf from the example set by the ITF to enter into Public Private Partnership (PPP), to ensure the achievement of their mandates. I believe that with PPP, we can create decent jobs in sufficient quantities, to resolve the protracted problems of unemployment and reduce poverty, while also providing a foundation for more robust and inclusive economic growth,” she further said.
The Director-General, ITF, Joseph Ari, said the ITF-NECA Technical Skills Development Project was in response to the outcome of a joint survey that was carried out by the agency and NECA, which revealed, among other things, skills mismatches and drastic shortages in many sectors of the economy.
“The project was therefore conceived with the primary objective of promoting the availability of manpower with appropriate Technical and Vocational Skills to meet identified needs of industries and the country,” he said.
He said the number of participating organisations had moved from six to 89, noting that over 56,597 skilled technicians had been trained and secured high-paying quality jobs or set up on their own.
The Director-General, NECA, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, said Germany and India had developed their traineeship and apprenticeship programmes to the point that they had become major drivers of national development.
“Academic curricula are also tailored and influenced significantly by apprenticeship and traineeship. The allure of learning and working and probably earning have worked wonders in getting many youths out of the street and into productive endeavors, not only for their good but also for the general good of these countries,” he said.
He urged all stakeholders to deepen the practice of apprenticeship and traineeship in the country, noting that they were playing significant roles in changing the narratives of several countries across the world.
“There is no reason why ours should be different,” he added.