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By Uche Kalu  :

Any society that neglects the development of its human capital is bound to retrogress in terms of growth and development. It is especially worrisome in Nigeria that even in the face of existing vacancies in several sectors of the economy, youths roam the streets without any form of gainful employment, giving rise to crimes and other social vices that bedevil the nation.

The Director General and Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Ariz Oluwatoyin Ogun said this during the graduation ceremony organized for 2023 batch of the National Industrial Skills Development Programmes (NISDP).

The event, being one of the first official functions of the DG since assumption of office was held in the Awka Area office of ITF. It featured the graduation of 150 students trained in various skills and presentation of start up packs to them.

Represented by the Deputy Director in charge of Finance, Mrs Felicita Ofodile while commending the graduands, urged them to utilize the opportunity provided by the training to make a decent living for themselves as well as their families, warning them of the consequences of selling the start up packs given to them.

The DG who thanked the Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo for providing an enabling environment for ITF to thrive in the state, noted that NISDP aimed at provision of skills that will create jobs to curb the rampant unemployment situation in the country and breed a new generation of entrepreneurs. 

He also said that in few weeks,  the Fund will unveil comprehensive policy thrust of its future.

In an interview, Mrs Ofodile noted that acquisition of skills builds the nation’s economy.

Responding on why some youths hate learning skills and other trades, she emphasised that every training starts from home, blaming some parents who are too busy to look after their children, noting that skill acquisition helps to reduce the rate of crime among youths.

In her address of welcome, the Awka Area Manager, ITF, Nancy Ekong, described the NISDP as an integral part of ITF expanded mandate and a policy directive from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMIT), designed to respond to skills shortages identified through an intensive research conducted by (ITF-UNIDO, 2012).

According to her, the thrust of the programme is to shore up the skills shortages by building capacity of the youths and ensure that they are employable by others or self-employed.

 “Since inception of NISDP in 2012, 3,700 youths of the state have been trained in the following trade areas: In 2012-2013 – Welding, Fabrication and Tiling. In 2014-2015 – Computer Hardware, Cosmetology, Pastry, and Phone repairs. In 2016, Cosmetology, Pastry, Yam/Cassava Processing and Fishery.

“Also in 2017 — Tiling, POP, Carpentry, Domestic Electrical Installation and Block/Bricks making. In 2017 (WOSEP) –Poultry, Food Processing and Pastry. In 2018 – Catering and Event Management, Aluminum Fabrication and Installation and other trades.

“Today, we are witnessing the closing ceremony of yet another 150 trainees in Anambra State. Three trade areas were identified in collaboration with the state government and other stakeholders. The Trade Areas were: Hairdressing/Beauty Care, Tailoring, Solar Panel Installation. We had four competent trainers, who were stationed in the various centres for a period of the three months who were frequently monitored by both officers from the Area Office and the headquarters to ensure compliance to standard. 

“Expectedly majority of the graduands of this programme will start-up their own businesses while others will be employed in various sectors of the economy, thus readily becoming potential members of various Business Member Organizations (BMOs).”

According to her, as partners in the implementation of the NISDP, the Bank of Industry (BOI) is to help provide the NISDP graduands access to “Start-Up” loans.

“Worthy of note is the huge support and collaboration given us by the state government for the actualization of this programme.”

While commending the graduands, Mrs Ekong explained that the prospect of NISDP is to provide opportunities for members of the Organized Private Sector (OPS) who complain of lack of skilled workforce, to draw from the pool of skilled technical middle level manpower that will be generated.

Some of the graduands, Chiamaka Ndubuisi trained on wig making, Chukwuemeka Ndigwe, Solar Installation and Stella — tailoring expressed gratitude to ITF for the opportunity to be trained in their various skills and promised to make proper use of the knowledge they got as well as contribute to the growth and development of the nation.

*Uche is of the Ministry of Information, Anambra State


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