By FIDELIS UBAH
Concerned by reports of mass casualties on the high seas, enslavement and other harrowing misfortunes being experienced by Nigerian youths seeking to migrate to Europe, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) is appealing to stakeholders to collaborate with the organization in order to equip more Nigerians with skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
Director-General/Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund, Sir Joseph N. Ari stated this when he received some stakeholders of the Fund on Tuesday.
A statement by the Head, Public Affairs Unit of the ITF, Suleyol Fred Chagu, quoted Sir Ari as explaining that equipping Nigerians with relevant skills was not only in line with the Federal Government’s efforts to create jobs but would stem the current wave of migration, especially by the youth that has culminated to loss of lives and enslavement of thousands of productive Nigerians.
He wondered why the mass migration despite the fact that several surveys by the ITF and other organizations have revealed that skills gaps exist that were being filled by foreigners.
He disclosed that it was with a view to equipping Nigerians with skills to fill these existing vacancies that the ITF has embarked on a number of initiatives and expanded existing programmes to ensure that more Nigerians are empowered with skills to check unemployment and promote entrepreneurship.
Ari listed some of the programmes including, the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Passion to Profession, Training on Wheels Using Mobile Training Units, the Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP), the Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) as well as the Vulnerable and Indigent Youth Empowerment Programme (VIYEP)amongst several others.
Shedding more light on the NISDP, which has trained over 100,000 Nigerians since it commenced, the DG said under the current phase that is ongoing in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the ITF is training 11,100 trainees with skills in Welding and Fabrication, Tailoring and Garment Making, and Plumbing and Pipe Fitting.
The DG revealed that in the last one year alone, over 70,000 Nigerians benefited from these skills acquisition programmes, adding that all the beneficiaries were given starter packs to start their businesses.
He said about 90 percent of the beneficiaries were either currently successful entrepreneurs, or earning livelihoods as paid employees according to the monitoring and evaluation of graduates conducted by the ITF.
Ari noted that some of the programmes were carried out in collaboration with several Organisations and Agencies both Private and Public in order to check unemployment and promote entrepreneurship.
He said the State Governments, for instance, could collaborate with the ITF towards the establishment of Industrial Skill Training Centres (ISTCs), which will be managed by the ITF on their behalf, noting that expanding access to skills acquisition that would create jobs will discourage Nigerian youths from seeking greener pastures outside the shores of the country.
The DG warned that if drastic action was not taken, the problem would further escalate going by projections that by 2050, Nigeria’s population will soar over 500 million, stressing however that if equipped with the requisite skills, the population could become hugely advantageous.
In his remarks, Mr. DanjumaGyang, a representative of the stakeholders, commended the ITF on its initiatives, noting that they will positively reverse the unemployment situation by directly creating jobs.
Gyang urged Stakeholders to collaborate with the ITF in order for the Organization to expand its programmes to accommodate more Nigerians willing to acquire skills.