The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite has urged parent/guardians to refrain from discouraging their wards when their pick interest in technical skills but rather encourage them to develop their God given abilities beside formal education.

The Minister said this Thursday in Abuja during ITF-NECA TSDP Stakeholders’ Dialogue Forum and Outstanding Trainees’ Awards Ceremony, organised by NECA-ITF to priorities skills acquisition while reversing the upward trend in youth unemployment.

Represented at the event by the Director General/Chief Executive, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Dr. Afiz Oluwatoyin Ogun, the Minister further enjoined parents to make adequate use of the training facility at ITF by sending their children there, especially during long vacations.

“I want to beg parents not to discourage their children when they discover they are good with hands on skills or discover they are tilting towards technical aspects by trying to fix things at home.

“This is because God has given each of us a particular skill and you kill those God-given abilities when you discourage them from building on it and children will thrive more when they have established themselves in area of the skills God has rewarded them with. I urge such parents to send their children to ITF training facilities across the country especially during their long vacations to further enhance their skills.”

In his opening address, the
Director General, Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and Co-Chair, Technicals Skills Development Programme (TSDP) Mr. Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde said skills have become an integral part of human endeavour which must not be ignored as it has the capability to provide the needed jobs the nation needs to employ the youth and reverse unemployment.

“The NECA-ITF Technicals Skills Development Project (TSDP) is an
offshoot of the desire to address the critical issues of unemployment, Which climax 33.4 Per cent in 2022, and while others were complaining about it, the ITF-NECA partnership came up with skills as a solution.

“We can no longer ignore skills in today’s world where ICT, cloud computing, renewed energy etc are dominating the job space. our partnership with ITF is to equip individuals with relevant skills to make them relevant and contribute to economic development”.

Earlier, the Director General, Industrial Training Fund, who also double as the Chair, Technicals Skills Development Programme (TSDP),Dr. Afiz Oluwatoyin Ogun said the existence of TSDP programme has grown in leaps and bounds, graduating over fifty thousand Trainees’.

“In the 12 years of its existence, the TSDP has achieved significant milestones, despite the numerous financial and socio-cultural challenges it faced and continues to face.

“From a mere six (6) participating organisations that trained and graduated 285 highly skilled Technicians, when it commenced in 2010, the Project today boasts of supporting fifty-nine (59) Participating Organisations and Technical Colleges with machinery and technical equipment which graduated 54,603 highly skilled Technicians that are either employed in Corporate Organisations or have become entrepreneurs that are employing others,” he said.

Dr. Ogun said the award of trainees was meant to promote good values, encourage healthy competition and reward excellence.

“Today we are here because we have over the years consistently used awards to promote good behaviour and healthy competition. By awarding exceptional trainees, we encourage and inspire them to always strive for excellence in all that they do. Not only that, but awarding exceptional trainees also serves as proof to subsequent sets of TSDP trainees in particular, and the Nigerian youth in general, that there is always a reward for excellence,” Ogun said.

The ILO country Director for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liaison off for ECOWAS, Dr. Vanessa phala, while delivering her keynote address on “Addressing Youth Unemployment through Apprenticeship and Traineeship” pledged the continued support of the project for greater impact.

“At country level, ILO continues to deploy technical experience in enhancing capacities of national stakeholders, including through trainings, development
and dissemination of knowledge product. We look forward to working closely
with ITF and NECA on initiatives that address youth employment challenges,
taking cognizance of relevant internationally recognized labour standards and promoting decent working conditions and lifelong learning.”

In his response, the representative of the awardees, Bongshin Edward, Urged would be trainees to take the trainee seriously as it has the potentials to make them in life. He said he got two jobs as a software engineer, one in Nigeria and another in the UK, after the training and it has changed his life.

This year’s event witnessed the graduation of 8,000 trainees across the country while 28 outstanding trainees were awarded with starter packs and certificates of recognition.