By Francis Akinnodi
Nigerians have called for the institutionalisation of apprenticeship and traineeship as a vital tool to address the high rate of poverty and unemployment in the country.
They noted that the increasing rate of unemployment and poverty is a wake up call for all including ITF, whose core mandate is skills development to seek lasting solution.
In separate interviews with The Hope recently, they said the soaring unemployment and poverty in Nigeria were worrisome.
The Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr Joseph Ari said repositioning apprenticeship would help tackle increasing poverty and unemployment as indicated by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Ari expressed concern that in spite of the high unemployment rate, rather than absence of jobs, vacancies still exist in several sectors.
He said that a Skills Gap Assessment of six priority sectors revealed that some vacancies could not be filled by Nigerians because of lack of requisite skills.
Ari explained that apprenticeship had been an age-long tradition and an institution in Nigeria. “It was a common feature in the traditional setting to see people engage in vocations like farming, carving, carpentry, catering, and building among others.”
He, however, expressed concern that the potential of apprenticeship in tackling unemployment and poverty had not been fully actualised in Nigeria.
According to Ari, “ITF had trained more than 22 million Nigerians whose contributions to the growth of the various sectors of the economy could not be quantified and liaised with a total of 1,353 companies for promotion of in-company apprenticeship activities
between 2010 and 2019 alone.”
Also, Ondo State Chairman, Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Greatsheyi Akintunde said the traditional apprenticeship, which was still being practised in Nigeria was not viable enough to curb issues of unemployment and other societal problems.
Akintunde said it was in the realisation of the numerous benefits of apprenticeship that ITF took the lead in collaboration with critical stakeholders to ensure its institutionalisation.
Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, commended ITF’s commitment to creating avenues for dialogue on ways of enhancing skills acquisition.
“You may be aware that the Federal Government has through its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) initiated and implemented a number of programmes.
“Programmes that have recorded positive results, especially in terms of uplifting the living standards of Nigerians as well as developing national economy.
“What government, however, finds worrisome is that although most of our programmes get expected outcomes in terms of jobs created, Nigerians with the requisite skills are lacking,” he said.
The Chairman, Oil and Gas Free Zone, Dr Chris Asoluka, said the move toward institutionalising apprecenticiship and traineeship for national development was achievable.
Asoluka, urged the ITF to assemble the best brains and people who shared in the vision, to come up with workable framework.
He said a properly planned framework would engender better policy or law that would drive the idea and ensure effective implementation.
They called on all stakeholders to show commitment to working with ITF to upscale job creation to drastically reducing poverty in Nigeria.
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