Curbing Unemployment, Poverty: Stakeholders Say Skills, Apprenticeship Way Out

Acquiring Skills have been identified as the only solution to the twin headed problem of unemployment, poverty and other vices associated with them..

This was the summation of different stakeholders in the employment sector at the 2nd ITF/NECA Stakeholders Dialogue Forum and Outstanding Trainees Award Thursday in Abuja.

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Maryam Katagum, who was the chairperson at the occasion, said Nigeria must toll the path of imparting skills, just as it previously have been done by other prosperous nation, if it hopes to reverse unemployment, poverty and other negative vices associated with it.

“Across the world today, nations that have confronted and are still battling the challenges of poverty, soaring unemployment and related challenges, did so through a greater commitment to skills acquisition. We must do the same, as we have one of the fastest-growing populations in the world”, Katagum said.

She further emphasized the need for collaboration between the public and private sector in resolving the problem of unemployment and poverty, besetting the nation’s economic growth.

She said, “In this regard, whereas some agencies like the ITF have taken advantage of relevant government policies to train hundreds of thousands of Nigerians through various skills intervention programmes, more still needs to be done, for the rapid growth and development of the nation’s economy.

“The need for greater collaboration and synergy amongst various organisations in both the public and private sectors cannot be overemphasised. I, therefore, urge other agencies of Government to borrow a leaf from the example set by the ITF to enter into Public Private Partnership (PPP), to ensure the achievement of their mandates. I believe that with PPP, we can create decent jobs in sufficient quantities, to resolve the protracted problems of unemployment and reduce poverty, while also providing a foundation for more robust and inclusive economic growth”, the Minister said

In his welcome address, the Chief Host, who is also the Director General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Sir Joseph Ari expressed his excitement over the achievements recorded by the synergy between ITF and NECA.

“Since the commencement of the Project, it has recorded significant milestones. From six Participating Organisations when it started, the number of POs has soared to 89 today, while also training over 56,597 highly skilled Technicians who have been able to secure high-paying quality jobs, or have set up on their own.

“Similarly, graduates of the Project that distinguished themselves in the course of the training were empowered with Business Start-up grants, linked others to employers of labour for direct employment and deployed International Labour Organisation (ILO) Start Your Business (SYB) Modules in training and entrepreneurship development.

“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate the commitment of the ITF to ensuring that Nigerians are equipped and empowered with the requisite skills to drive the industrial change that the country needs. I equally want to canvass the support of all well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to support the efforts of the Fund to accomplish this onerous task and address other challenges that we are contending with especially poverty and unemployment, despite the commendable efforts of the Buhari Administration to fully address them,” he said.

The keynote speaker who is the Director General, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Adewale-Smart Ayerinde said imparting skill either by traineeship or apprenticeship is necessary to shape the growing youth unemployment and create wealth.

Ayerinde said, “Apprenticeships and Traineeships offer people a ladder of opportunity to acquire the vital skills they need to succeed as individuals and that the nation needs to remain in the development and growth trajectory. They possess the ability to shape the economic space by supporting a vast population of potential entrepreneurs into innovative start-ups. Thus, they also enable organizations in different industries to shape their corporate culture towards a more entrepreneurial approach. Ideally, apprenticeship training can transfer entrepreneurial expertise and facilitate a smooth transition into self-employment.

“The traineeship will allow young people to gain work experience while building their entrepreneurial skills and key character traits such as resilience, determination, and self-management, as well as project management, customer service and networking. The aggregated effect of this is rapid development of Small and Medium Scale enterprises and a broad-based skilled youth population with consequential effect on National development,” he said.

The ITF-NECA Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) has empowered youths (Traineeship) with employable skills in over 30 trade areas in order to meet the needs of industries.

Some of the most outstanding trainees were presented with their start-up packs, with the charge to train others while succeeding in their chosen endeavours.

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