- Begins mobile workshop for IDPs
James Emejo in Abuja
The acting Director General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Dickson Chinedum has said arrangements had reached advanced stages for the roll out of the fifth phase of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) in 13 states of the federation.
The NISDP is the hard skills component of the NIGERIA Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP)-and was intended to bridge the huge industrial skills gaps in the country.
He said the programme, which commenced three years ago had trained over 74,000 youths in all the states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Speaking in Abuja during an interactive session with members of the commerce and industry correspondents (CICAN) to give update on the agency’s interventions, he also said plans were being concluded to commence the mobile training workshop for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the country.
According to Chinedum, the fifth phase of the NISDP, which is the first of the three phases to be implemented in 2016, will provide training to youths in Abia, Anambra, Adamawa, Borno, Plateau, Delta, Sokoto, Kwara, Ogun, Katsina, Cross River, Lagos, and Kaduna.
He said the youths would be equipped with skills in 38 trade and craft areas including welding and fabrication, domestic electrical wiring, autotronics, ICT, tiling, garment making, fish farming, plaster of paris(POP) production and confectionery production among others.
He also disclosed that in line the federal government’s initiative on the local manufacturing of auto parts in the country, the ITF has commenced discussions with the National Automative Council to establish the National Automative Parts Manufacturing and Training Centers in Badagry, Aba and Kano states.
He said: “Apart of conserving the foreign exchange expended on the importation of auto parts, the centers will ensure that needed auto parts are produced in the country, while Nigerian youths will also be trained for employment in the automobile part manufacturing sector of the economy.”
The ITF, according to him, was committed to drive the federal government’s focus through accelerated skills acquisition for entrepreneurship and employability.
He added that efforts were also being made to boost the morale of staff of the Fund in order to put in their best in actualising the objectives of the institution.
The Ministry of Communications in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is set to develop local competences, capacities and skills in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), necessary to support economic growth and businesses through creative innovations for better service delivery.
The move, according to the government, would help reduce the dearth of skilled ICT personnel in the country, with a view to developing a pool of experienced ICT persons that would be capable of developing technology solutions that would address the challenges of the country.
Determined to achieve the goal, NITDA has commenced the training of 100 university graduates from various disciplines in ICT skills, through its Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) for the South-west geopolitical zone, with plans to expand the scheme to the other five geopolitical zones of the country.
The plan was to train 600 graduates in core ICT areas like Software Programming, Web Design, Hardware Trouble-shooting, among others, in the pilot phase of the scheme, before extending it into a yearly training programme.
Pleased with the initiative, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who was a special guest of honour at the official launch of the NITDA-GIS empowerment programme, urged the beneficiaries to avail themselves of the unique opportunities that the platform presents, to demonstrate their ability to challenge conventional wisdom through ICT applications
According to him, “ICT capacity building is one of the strategic pillars of the ICT roadmap,,which the ministry with her parastatals, is currently developing. He said the programme would empower Nigerian youths to become self sufficient and at the same time, have the prerequisite job experience as may be required by employers of labour.
“The strategic pillar of the ICT roadmap is aimed at developing a smart globally competitive workforce that will eventually become major players in the smart digital Nigeria project,” Shittu said.
The acting Director General of NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji said the present challenge in the country, emanating from the over-dependency on oil produce by past governments, compelled NITDA to come up with the initiative of GIS, in order to diversify the Nigerian economy. He said out of the population of 160 Nigerians, 70 per cent are youths and 60 per cent of the youths are unemployed, a situation, he said, posses serious danger for the Nigerian economy. Olatunji explained that should Nigerian youths acquire the requisite ICT training, it would not only reduce unemployment rate, but would also enable the youths to become self-reliant and employers of labour.
The former President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Chris Uwaje, said software remained the key to unlock future potentials. He therefore called on Nigerian technology startups to form coalition that would make them stronger and big in the software industry.