Promoting strategic intervention through technical training to curb unemployment
A critical challenge that faces Nigeria is development of competent workforce and sustained growth as member of the global economy.
The challenge of unemployment, job creation and skills for jobs is likely to become accentuated as population increases and more youths exit school.
Already, youth unemployment in Nigeria has been a growing concern, which has led to increased rate of violent crimes, kidnapping, restiveness and social delinquent behaviours.
The transformation going on in emerging economies and developed countries of the world could be traced to deliberate policies and support for youth empowerment, technical and vocational skills.
Experts said that if Nigeria must at the shortest possible time fast-track its development trajectory, concerted efforts must be given to technical skills development, which lays foundation for national development, economic diversification and growth.
They argued that as a way out of the impending national crisis, quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was widely recognised to have an important role to play in tackling youth unemployment.
The argument was the fulcrum of discussions at the Industrial Training Fund- Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (ITF-NECA) Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) Stakeholders Dialogue Forum and awards ceremony held physically and virtually across the states.
Director General and Chief Executive, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, who spoke on “Technical Skills Development and Impact in Nigeria: TSDP in Perspective”, said since inception, the ITF-NECA TSDP had contributed to the development of skilled manpower, reduction of unemployment, promotion of entrepreneurship and job creation.
Noting that the scheme was well placed to provide the skilled and entrepreneurial workforce that Nigeria needed to create wealthy, reduce unemployment and poverty, he said one of the most important features of the TSDP was its orientation towards the world of work and the emphasis of the curriculum on the acquisition of employable skills.
He noted that the ITF and NECA designed the TSDP to promote availability of manpower with appropriate technical and vocational skills to meet the identified needs of industries and the country.
He said the TSDP, in a survey highlighted manpower shortages as well as low competency levels in mechanical maintenance, welding, electrical/electronic maintenance, automation and process control and instrumentation.
In his welcome address, Director-General of NECA, Timothy Olawale said that over 10,000 youths are empowered yearly through the TSDP, while about 80 per cent of them are employed immediately after their training.
He maintained that jobs are there in the private companies, but the lack of employability skills had been the bane for Nigerian youths.
“Once they are trained, you discovered that about 80 per cent of them are given automatic employment. The 20 per cent are the ones that have chosen to stand on their own and start their own businesses, because our training in the project is on two track, which is either for gainful employment or it gives capacity to start your own business to become an income earner and employer of labour,” he explained.
On government policy hindering growth of the scheme, Olawale urged government to enact policy that would improve the disposition of the society towards acquisition of skills by young persons and encourage technical skills training.
The primary objective of ITF-NECA TSDP and training programmes, according to him, were the acquisition of relevant knowledge, practical skills and attitudes for employment and entrepreneurship in a particular trade or occupational area.
He mentioned the three core elements of the training of the programme aimed at producing high quality, job-ready technical power such as classroom training and practical hands on exercise in training workshops, industrial attachment and entrepreneurship development.