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FG trains 5m artisans yearly —ITF DG

By Saheed Ibrahim

In a bold move to ensure that Nigerian youths acquire superior skills that meet international quality and standards, the Federal Government has begun the training of five million artisans, The Hope has gathered.

The programme titled “Skill Up Artisans” (SUPA) designed to train and certify 20 million artisans in four years will ensure their skills meet international quality and standards and reduce reliance on foreign artisans.

This initiative, spearheaded by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), aims to elevate the quality of workmanship among Nigerian artisans to international standards.

The ITF Director General, Dr. Afiz  Oluwatoyin Ogun, in an exclusive interview with The Hope, disclosed that the initiative has started yielding positive results.

He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is determined to improve the lives of artisans and strengthen the economy of the country.

According to him, the comprehensive training programme is expected to transform the landscape of skilled labour in Nigeria, boosting local employment and reducing the need for foreign artisans.

He said the training will cover a range of trades, including plumbing, electrical, mechanical, furniture work, masonry, and even advanced fields like software development and mechatronics.

Ogun disclosed that ITF is collaborating with international bodies to ensure the highest training standards.

In addition to technical skills, he noted that the programme would provide soft skills training in project management, industrial health and safety, and ethical practices.

The DG added that the training would have significant impact on the nation’s workforce.

“We are scaling up the performance of local artisans to match international standards through a Programme called SUPA – Skill Up Artisans,” he added.

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 Oluwatoyin raised concern regarding the current reliance on foreign artisans from countries like Togo, Ghana, Japan, Benin Republic, who often find lucrative jobs in Nigeria due to their superior skills, adding that many Nigerian artisans are overlooked due to the perceived poor quality of their work.

“Nigerians want quality jobs, and that’s why they turn to foreign artisans. But we have the talents here; we just need to develop it properly. Our artisans will be trained to handle projects professionally, ensuring they deliver high-quality work consistently,” Ogun said.

To facilitate this massive training endeavour, the DG noted that the ITF has accredited 820 training centres across the country, adding that the first batch of 500,000 artisans has already been screened and registered.

“We organized screening in all 109 senatorial districts, ensuring the authenticity and skill level of the applicants,” he explained.

The programme also includes a unique approach to ensure ongoing support and professional growth for artisans.

He stated that super artisans, recognized for their exceptional skills, will be employed by the government to provide guidance and support to others.

In addition to exporting artisans to other countries and connecting them with Nigerian industries that require their services, Oluwatoyin said the ITF plans to incubate businesses for trained artisans, providing them with fully equipped workshops to help them establish their enterprises.

“Artisans will no longer be able to deliver sub standard work because their reputation will be on the line. We are creating pathways for our artisans to work abroad under fair condition, ensuring they receive proper pay and benefits, and bring the dollars home. We are prepared for that.

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“This is not just a plan on paper. We are already making significant progress, and the artisans of Nigeria can look forward to a brighter, more prosperous future,” he assured.

He added that the Federal Government is targeting speedy economic growth and development, and that no stone will be left unturned to achieve it.

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