Govt’s Impact on Skills Devt Initiatives Will Boost TVET, Says Adefioye

Eniola Adefioye

Mrs. Eniola Adefioye is the Chief Executive Officer of Tributary Initiative for Learning, a non-governmental organisation. In this interview with Funmi Ogundare, she explained how government can help strengthen capacity for existing skills development initiatives and also develop an efficient TVET system by funding the system adequately with increased collaboration between institutions and industry. Excerpts:

What is your view about TVE and skills development for youths?

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) can create a profound impact to increase employment and increase the rate of skilled workforce in the country. With attention to competency in knowledge, skills and attitude in the delivery of technical and vocational education programmes, youths can thrive beyond expectations, have a sustained livelihood, alleviate their communities of poverty and contribute to the economic growth of the country.

How do you think the government can help strengthen capacity for existing skills development initiatives?

Existing skills development initiatives need governmental support in funding and in scaling up their activities. The government should provide a national occupational standard which will guide different TVET systems in executing programmes. It will ensure the needed competencies are taught trainees to perform at an agreed level in an occupation, thereby matching skills to job realities. The provision of the NOC will also improve the ability to measure the impacts of different initiatives.

What effort will your NGO put in place to help in closing the skills gap?

Tributary Initiative for Learning (TRIL) provides support in education and training to secondary and technical schools in collaboration with the government and industry partners. By September 2020, we would be activating two trade subjects (Automobile and Electrical Installation) for some secondary schools in Lagos state and also encourage female participation in technical education, as part of our education support programmes. We are also leading the advocacy for the teaching of TVET at secondary schools as an early intervention to curb youth unemployment hence closing skills gaps and, to increase students’ interest in TVET-related careers. Likewise, we are engaging industry and subject matter experts to give viable inputs in our curriculum development process for the Technical Education for Secondary Schools’ (TESS) project, to avoid skills mismatch and increase employability in the technical and vocational space. With the same intent, we are hosting a forum tagged ‘The Education and Employment Development forum’, scheduled to hold sometime this year. We will gather relevant stakeholders across the education value-chain to explore education and skills development strategies, in light of the changes in technology, employment landscape, business trends and growing market demands. Our objective is to meet the global challenge of youth employment in the 21st century through ambitious but concrete and measurable actions.

How well do you think the country can develop an efficient TVET system?

The country can develop an efficient TVET system by adequately funding the systems; increased collaboration between institutions and industry, competency-based curriculum, adequate training for teachers/instructors, policies for development and sustainable TVET; as well as a national occupation standard.

What advice do you have for the private sector in sustaining skills development output?

They should structure their programmes to meet the changing skills needs, and also use digital tools in the delivery of their programmes/trainings.

Since establishing your NGO, what has been your challenge in bringing on board the private sector to buy into the initiative?

We have been fortunate to get support for our projects since inception. We have been able to partner and get funding support with some multinationals and few Nigeria-owned organisations. However, some private organisations like the idea of CSR but are not willing to get involved or collaborate as they do not have provision for it or do not think it is of no benefit to the organisation. Also, TVET realities are alien to several organisations. Hence, they do not share our vision and are uninterested. We are optimistic about getting more organisations to collaborate with us, as we continue to impact our communities and keep walking the talk.