By Obinna Chima
The Industrial Training Fund, (ITF) said it has commenced move to strengthen the Students Industrial Work Experience, (SIWES) in order to stimulate and sustain industrial development, grow the economy and create jobs in line with the vision of the federal government.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ summit organised by the agency, the acting Director General of the agency, Mr. Dickson Onuoha, said the ITF will also meet regularly with both regulators and other stakeholders to think outside the box so as to improve the standard of the SIWES scheme.
He explained the SIWES scheme was established by the federal government to solve the problem of lack of adequate skills preparatory for employment in the industrial sector by Nigerian graduates of tertiary institutions.
Noting, however that the scheme, which exposes and transits students from classrooms to the practical world has been grappling with the challenges of inadequate funding due to increasing demands on governments revenue and the increase in the number of students graduating from the nation’s tertiary institutions, Onuoha said called for a reduction in the number of programme has become necessary in order to make SIWES more effective.
A statement from the ITF stated that the SIWES was capable of bridging the gap between theory and practical realities in the nation’s industrial sector, pointing out that ITF will continue to evolve innovative methods, considering that the scheme has continued to prepare students for the world of work.
The stakeholders’ summit was attended by representatives of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN), the National Universities Commission, (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education, (NBTE).
The National Commission for Colleges of Education, (NCCE) and representatives of various students’ union groups from the National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS) also attended the summit.
According to Onuoha, ITF will continually strive to remain the leading human resource development organisation that will be focused on improving industrialisation and quality of working life. The agency, he said, will also remain focused on achieving the cardinal goals of the federal government that emphasises job creation and youth empowerment.
The acting director general disclosed that the re-organised and strengthened SIWES administration, coupled with understanding with stakeholders will facilitate the training and development of youths and entrepreneurs in the country.
He further noted that the collaboration with stakeholders was critical in order to have an effective local skills and manpower development that can drive the federal government’s economic diversification agenda.
On his part, the Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN), Mr. Remi Ogunmefun, said the association will effectively collaborate with the ITF to ensure practical experience was extended to Nigerian graduates in the nation’s industrial and manufacturing sectors.