Ngige directs NDE to expand school-to-work scheme
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has directed the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to expand the school-to-work scheme for secondary students beyond the pilot states next year.
The states running the pilot scheme include Cross River, Kogi, Anambra, Bauchi, Katsina and Ondo.Ngige, who stated this in Calabar, Cross River State, while flagging-off the training of 150 students under the scheme, charged the Directorate to use the experience of the pilot scheme as a basis for its expansion.
He said: “I have directed the NDE Management to expand the scope of the scheme next year to accommodate more trainees and to ensure that the valuable lessons derived from this pilot phase will be applied to enrich the content and form of the scheme subsequently.”
Ngige stressed that the Federal Government is not unaware of the high level of unemployment in Nigeria, saying government has designed programmes to provide jobs.
His words: “As part of measures to address it (unemployment), government has designed programmes and schemes towards skills acquisition for both graduates and non-graduates. To this end, it has launched websites, which presently have registered well over 800,000 graduates in its database under the N-build programme. Under this programme, graduates and non-graduates who wish to acquire skills in construction related trades are advised to enrol in the programme.”
He further explained that under the programme, each state of the federation is expected to recruit a total of 1,500 persons with the exception of such states affected by insurgency and states with high poverty index.
The Minister urged all unskilled and unemployed persons to take maximum advantage of this opportunity offered them by the Federal Government.
In his remarks, the Acting Director General of NDE, Kunle Obayan, explained that the idea behind the School-to-Work Scheme is a novel one which is conceived to provide diverse vocational, agricultural and entrepreneurial skills training for secondary school students during the long vacation period.
He added: “We have in the NDE discovered through research and many years of experience that the best time to address the challenge of youth unemployment is at what we refer to as the ‘upstream level’, other than the ‘downstream level’. The downstream level of unemployment occurs immediately youths complete their education and begin what most times may appear like a futile search for wage employment. To this end, if constructive efforts are made to mitigate the situation at the ‘upstream level’, we stand a great chance of reducing unemployment to tolerable levels.”
Obayan insisted that exposing young persons to vocations at young ages especially at the junior and senior secondary levels of education through the teaching of various skills, will ensure that youths acquired skills that will not only assist them to become useful citizens, but empower them to earn money which will assist them as they continue their educational pursuits beyond the secondary level.The NDE helmsman hinted that the Directorate was already working on the directive of the Minister to expand the number of trainees next year.