Hammed Shittu in Ilorin writes about Kwara State government’s efforts to tackle youth unemployment through the international vocational and training college at Ajase-Ipo in Irepodun local government council
The high rate of youth unemployment in the country has continued to be worrisome and devastating. The effect of such ugly situation has hindered national development and increased social vices among the teeming youths.
However, it is on this premise that all levels of government – local, state and federal – designed a strategy and policy that would go a long way of nipping such ugly situation in the bud so as to bring new lease of life to the people of the country; thereby accelerating the socio well-being of the entire populace.
Based on this, the present administration in Kwara state under Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed upon assumption of office decided to continue the legacy project of his predecessor in office, Dr. Bukola Saraki who is now the senate president of the country.
This was done to ensure the completion of the International Vocational and Training College sited at Ajase-Ipo in Irepodun local government council of the state.
The college, which was over 70 per cent completed before the end of the tenure of former governor Saraki, was taken over by Governor Ahmed’s government, who ensured that the project saw the light of day.
The main thrust of the college is to train youths on various vocational skills acquisition so as to help them get quality training at the end of the day; thereby preparing them for future attainments.
This singular opportunity would also assist the youths to stay away from social vices like cultism, prostitution, armed robbery and other vices that may be impediments to their future development.
The college is a non-governmental educational institution with a vision to promote human capital development within the context of evolving national needs.
It is also established to provide an array of skills acquisition and skills upgrading training and certificate programmes for recent school leavers, the unemployed and the under-employed using the most advanced technology and delivery methods, an exceptional faculty and the state-of-the-art facilities.
The college was designed with the renowned vocational training institution, the City and Guilds international, and the trainees from the college will be able to obtain national and international certification for the immediate industrial employment or independent practice.
It is also meant to provide market-driven skilled manpower needed at all levels of economy, thus engendering a skilled workforce that is highly employable and able to contribute to a robust national economy.
The college has undergone rigorous standards to become a nationally and internationally certified testing centre, offering programmes like building construction technology, information and communication technology, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, welding and fabrication technology, automotive technology, electrical engineering technology and hotel and tourism management.
With the full completion of the infrastructures at the college, the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was the guest of honour who performed the official unveiling of the edifice at its permanent site located at Ajase- Ipo last year.
Osinbajo, who described the IVTEC as one of the important projects any government could undertake, said the college was tailored around exact needs of the society, particularly in partnership with notable international organisations like the City & Guilds, London, Alfred State College of Technology, US, University of Wolverhampton and Praxis Atlantis, among others.
He said, “The vision of the college to give right type of skill and international certificate that will enable graduates to work in any part of the world is commendable. The partnership with international organisations will also make graduates saleable to the benefit of the country”.
The vice president, who called on other states of the federation to emulate Kwara state on the project, pledged assistance of the federal government to ensure that the college was replicated in all parts of the country.
He expressed concern over the continued importation of skilled artisans from neighbouring West African countries into the country, saying that Nigeria has numerous talented youth with aggressive mind to succeed in trade, commerce and entrepreneurship.
He said the country had, before now, lacked technical centres tailored around existing talents of Nigerian youth and needs of the country.
Earlier, the state governor, Alhaji Ahmed said, “IVTEC offers a structured approach to providing youths with market-relevant skills and a reliable pathway to economic empowerment that prevents a descent into negative and destructive behaviour often associated with unemployment.
Ahmed added, “Our establishment of IVTEC is therefore driven by the need to offer the best technical, vocational and entrepreneurship training to our young people and prepare them for entrepreneurship or gainful employment.
“IVTEC is doing this by benchmarking against global standards in vocational education but also through partnerships with globally recognised certification bodies such as City and Guilds of London.”
He noted that, “The College is also partnering institutions like Alfred State College, New York and the University of Wolverhampton both of which have proven track-records in entrepreneurship and vocational education
“In line with the mission mentioned earlier, IVTEC is open to students with three basic skill levels; first, fresh school leavers seeking to acquire technical and vocational skills for setting up their businesses.
“Two, tertiary education graduates who want to diversify into other fields by accessing new skills and, three, professionals seeking continuous professional development.”
He also said “IVTEC’s recruitment of students will also target vulnerable and disadvantaged youths in the state to ensure their socio-economic circumstances do not become a barrier to their life aspirations.”
Moreover, with the availability of infrastructure at the college, the management of the college recently admitted the first set of 123 students in the college.
The event was also used to give students well packaged orientation programmes to intimate new students of what the college is meant to do for them.
Speaking at the matriculation ceremony at Ajase-Ipo, the rector of the college, Mr. Ade Somide said the students would be exposed to various skills of acquisition in about 35 various courses being offered by the college.
He said the tuition fees of the affected students have been subsidised by the state government in order to help them have opportunity to pursue their courses in the college.
Somide added that although the students would use only three months at the college, after that they may come back to the college to pursue further diploma courses that are available to them in order to boost their talents.
He stressed that the management of the college would also expose them to international partnership to help them garner more talents in their respective chosen careers at the college after their graduation.
While commending the initiative of Governor Ahmed for the setting up of the college, Somide noted that, the development would reduce social vices among the teeming youths in the state.
He pointed out that the college was set up to make the students entrepreneurs at the end of their graduation, adding that this would go a long way in creating employment opportunities for the teeming youths of the state.
Somide assured that the college’s management would do everything possible to provide needed academic exposures that would make them excel in their various chosen courses, so as to help them to be self-reliant rather than looking out for white collar jobs.
However, some of the newly-matriculated students who spoke with our correspondent at the occasion lauded the efforts of the state government on the establishment of the college.
The students therefore pledged to be active to help them acquire skills development that would be beneficial to them and to the entire people of the state.
With the full commencement of the academic programme at the college, a new dawn has evolved in the state because the era of having unemployed youths roaming about the streets would be a thing of the past, as the youths would be engaged in vocational skills acquisition that would be able to propel them for their future attainments.