James Emejo in Abuja
The Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Timothy Olawale, has said the country’s quest for industrialisation is currently constrained by dearth of technical skills adding that industries have continued to struggle over the years.
This is as National President, Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, also said the shortage of talent and skilled labour had necessitated the need to employ expatriates to do the jobs which Nigerians should ordinarily execute, adding that “There are jobs but we don’t have skilled manpower.”
However, Director General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Joseph Ari, said the recent training and certification of 317 Nigerians with entrepreneurial and employability skills will boost job creation and tame rising criminality in the country going forward.
They spoke in Abuja at the graduation ceremony of the ITF Model Skills Training Center, where graduates were awarded with the National Innovation Diploma (NID) issued by the National Institute for Technical Education Certificate (NITEC).
Olawale, however declared that the country is currently in an emergency situation regarding the alarming rate of youth unemployment, stressing that empowering young tertiary school graduates with requisite skills is the way to go rather than allow them wait for white collar jobs which are not available.
NECA is the umbrella organisation of employers in the organised private sector,established to provide the forum for the government to consult with private sector employers on socio-economic and labour policy issues.
He said: “The way forward is for the government to invest massively in technical education”, adding that the present crop of graduates only possess textbook knowledge which is limited in modern day work reality.
Nonetheless, Aliyu commended the ITF for moving to close the present skills gaps through the creation of model skills training center to among other things, address the unemployment situation as well as reduce criminality in the country.
Meanwhile, the ITF DG noted that beyond the demands of its mandate, the commitment to skills acquisition is premised on the fact that it remains the most viable and sustainable solution to combating the rising unemployment and poverty which have continued to defy best efforts by government and non-government actors.
He said going forward, the objective of the center would be to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible are equipped with the skills for entrepreneurship and employability in order to avert the attendant effect of and unemployment.
He charged the graduates to exhibit positive attitude and values ingrained in them during their course of study and be good ambassadors of both the ITF and the center.
Ari said: “I make bold to say that these graduates can compete with the best anywhere in the world. Apart from having the benefit of the best equipment and tools, especially the mechatronics and facility technology department, our trainings are structured to equip them with requisite skills to start up on their own and from our tracking and monitoring system, we have largely succeeded in this regard as over 65 per cent of graduates of MSTC in the last six years are successful entrepreneurs.