By James Emejo
The Director General/Chief Executive, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Joseph Ari, has said skills acquisition remains the most viable and sustainable solution for combating rising unemployment and poverty in the country.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of 255 youths in various technical and vocational skills under the ITF/Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) vocational skills training programme, in Abuja, he said it was critical for more Nigerians to acquire a skill for employability and entrepreneurship.
Ari, pointed out that it was for the same reason that the the fund’s Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC), resolved to conduct graduate upskilling programmes for those desirous of upgrading their skills or learning a new occupational trade.
He said: “In addition, in recognition of the fact that when you catch the young ones early enough, the attraction to hands-on skills persists all through their lives.
“The centre has introduced summer boot camp for children between the ages 10-15 and gives them hands-on training in the following areas- Nigeria cuisine, pastry, hygiene and safety, mobile robot technology, electronic circuit design and troubleshooting technology.”
The ITF boss said, going forward, the objective of the centre 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 effects of poverty and unemployment that have manifested in the form of rising criminality including kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism and many other antisocial behaviour.
He said: “We however believe that for this to happen, all Nigerians across the various strata of society should heed our clarion call for synergy with the ITF.”
While congratulating the graduands, for being counted among the lucky few to benefit from the programme as well as for enduring the toil thus far.
He charged them to take full advantage of the opportunity provided by the intervention to, “not only put food on your family’s table but to also make your own meaningful contribution to the Nigerian economy.”
He said: “Therefore, do not contemplate selling any of the start-up kits that will be presented to you shortly. We expect that all items given to you will be put to judicious use and not be sold for cheap gain.”
He explained that the graduation was an outcome of the federal government’s renewed commitment to empowering countless Nigerian youths with cutting-edge technical and vocational skills training to tackle poverty and unemployment.
He said: “It all began in late 2019 after a visit by the management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to the Fund’s Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC), Abuja.
“The delegation, which was impressed by the quality of equipment at the centre, opened negotiations with the ITF for the empowerment of 255 unemployed youths with technical vocational skills.
“Although the six–month programme was billed to commence in early 2020, it did not start until August 2020 as a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, NCDMB, Patrick Obah, said the training was designed to drive self-employment and address youth redundancy, among others.