ITF to Train 18,000 Youths on Entrepreneurial Skills in 2019



James Emejo in Abuja

The Director-General/Chief Executive, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Joseph Ari, Thursday said about 18,000 Nigerians will be trained under its skills intervention programmes for the year. The training will last between three to six months.

He said the ITF has come up with 11 implementable programmes for 2019, namely the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP); Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP); air-conditioning and refrigeration (training on wheels); design and garment making (training on wheels) for Nigerian youths under the Passion to Profession Programme (P2PP); Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the Physically Challenged (STEPP-C) and Construction Skills Empowerment Programme (CONSEP).

Others include aqua-culture (fish farming); manure production; crop production (green House technology); poultry farming; and training programme development on international marketing and test running.

The ITF boss said these interventions were in addition to the federal government’s efforts to get Nigerians engaged in meaningful economic ventures through various social investment programmes as well the numerous skill acquisition programmes being implemented by the fund.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, Ari said between late 2016 to 2018, the fund had trained over 450,000 Nigerians, 90 per cent of whom are currently in productive endeavours either as paid employees or as entrepreneurs which are employing others.

He said skills acquisition remained the most viable and sustainable solution to rising unemployment and poverty which have continued to defy the best efforts of governmental and non-governmental approaches.

He said:”There are countless reasons for us to worry as governments and as institutions vested with the arduous task of equipping Nigerians with the life skills for employability and entrepreneurship.

“There is no doubt that unemployment has wrought a terrible damage on all facets of our national life. No reasonable analysis will divorce unemployment from the needless incidences of violence that have claimed thousands of lives across the nation.

“It will equally be difficult to separate rising criminality and harmful social vices that are being perpetrated by Nigerians because of unemployment and the attendant poverty. Consequently, our population that ordinarily should be a resource has become an albatross because we cannot provide a greater proportion of our population with a source of livelihood.”

Nevertheless, he pointed out that the administration of President Muhammad Buhari has made “tremendous efforts to create jobs as could be seen in the increase in the number of people employed as cited by the NBS report”.

He said: “Today, across the length and breadth of the country are visible evidences of the federal government’s efforts to get Nigerians engaged in meaningful economic ventures through various social investment programmes and the numerous skills acquisition programmes being implemented by the ITF.

“Clearly, these efforts are not enough. It is against this backdrop that today we are unveiling our 2019 skills intervention programmes as part of our determined and continuing effort to contain the unemployment malaise.”

Ari, however, urged Nigerians to support government’s efforts to create jobs and reduce poverty through skill acquisition rather than view it as the responsibility of the ITF and other agencies of the federal government alone.

According to him, the cooperation and collaboration of all state governments, the Organised Private Sector (OPS), politicians and other stakeholders will be critical for a multiplier effect, adding that: “Our doors are therefore wide open for collaboration in any aspect of human capacity development and vocational and technical skills training.”

He said ITF has been able to equip as many Nigerians as possible with skills for employability and entrepreneurship in order to create jobs and reduce poverty in line with its mandate and the policy objectives of the present administration.