Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Director General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph Ari, has declared that Nigeria stands the risk of collapse if the country does not prioritise skills acquisition and entrepreneurship for universities graduates to address youth restiveness in the country.
He said recent studies postulated that the countryâ€™s population would grow up to 500 million by 2050 and if drastic action is not taken now by policy makers to engage Nigerians into one trade or another, the country would become a shadow of itself in the near future.
Ari gave the warning during a press interaction with members of the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau State chapter in Jos.
He said: â€œWe must drum into the ears of government, policy makers and critical stakeholders that the country will collapse if urgent action is not taken to encourage the provision of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship among students and idle Nigerians.
â€œI will be very glad if my son says he wants to be a mechanic, we should not only encouraged paper qualification but skills development, that is the only away Nigeria can be maneuvered out of unemployment and turbulent economy.â€
He explained that ITF has trained 60,000 Nigerians from 2,300 organisations and over 50,000 youths and other vulnerable groups were equipped with skills for employment and entrepreneurship through National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) and Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP) among others.
Ari stressed that 500 indigent rural women from 13 states and the FCT were trained across 32 centres in 11 trade areas, covering Event Management, Cosmetology, Poultry Farming, Bead Making, Baking and Pastry, Soap/Disinfectant/Detergent making, Hair making, Food processing, Tailoring and Fashion Design, Tie and Dye and Electrical Installation.
He said N1 billion has been disbursed as student and supervisory allowance to 328 tertiary institutions under the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) to encourage skills acquisition among students rather than acquiring only paper qualification.
Ari added that Nigeria has a lot of graduates who only acquired the theoretical knowledge of their field of studies but are not fit into the working environment because they lack the requisite skills to operate.