The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has empowered 11,000 Nigerians across the country with various skills and trades under its 2019 National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP).
Mr Joseph Ari, ITF Director-General made this known in Abuja at the graduation and distribution of Start-Up Packs to the beneficiaries.
NISDP began in the last quarter of 2019 nationwide while the training lasted between three and six months, depending on the trade.
According to Ari, the NISDP is one of the numerous skills acquisition intervention programmes introduced and implemented by ITF to facilitate the achievement of the Federal Government policy on job and wealth creation.
“It focuses on skills acquisition to create jobs, to stem rampant unemployment and breed new generation of entrepreneurs to transform the economic landscape of the country,’’ he said.
He listed the nine skills and trades which 300 beneficiaries were trained in each state of the federation and FCT to include Leather Works (Shoe and Bag Making), Welding and Fabrication, Catering and Event Management.
The ITF boss listed others as Domestic Electrical Wiring and Installation, Solar Energy Installation, Plumbing and Pipe-fitting, Tiling, Production and Laying of Interlock Tiles, Auto-gelle and Beauty Care and Furniture Making.
He believed that given the intensity and practical nature of the training, which was 80 per cent practical and 20 per cent theory, they were equipped with necessary skills and attitudes to thrive as employees or entrepreneurs.
“When tied with the trades which were chosen after careful and in-depth need analysis of their locales, we have no doubt they will thrive, as trades they have learned will always be needed,’’ he added.
Ari recalled that since its inception, the NISDP has equipped over 200,000 Nigerians nationwide and 18,000 from the FCT with skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
According to him, its commitment to skills acquisition is premised on the fact that it remains the most viable solution to rising unemployment and poverty which have continued to defy best efforts of governmental and non-governmental approaches.
“We see visible evidence of the Federal Government’s efforts to get Nigerians engaged in meaningful economic ventures through various social investment programmes and skills acquisition programmes being implemented by ITF and other organisations with similar mandates.
“The Federal Government’s effort is not enough in view of the magnitude of the unemployment confronting the country,’’ he said.
Ari, however, appealed to state governments, the Organised Private Sector (OPS), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), Faith-Based Organisations, Politicians and other stakeholders to collaborate with the ITF in efforts to train Nigerians.
He said that it could be by way of sponsorship of additional trainees for its various skills programmes, or by buying start-up packs for beneficiaries of the programmes for more impact.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha in a keynote remark, urged ITF to conduct a tracer study in the next one or two years to provide more opportunities to expand the NISDP.
Mustapha, represented by Mr David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs Office recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in his inaugural speech in 2015 had promised to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty to prosperity in 10 years.
He said the president also singled out unemployment as a problem that needed to be tackled through diverse interventions such as agriculture and disbursement of credits to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to stimulate national economy.
Mustapha said that the Federal Government had remained steadfast to the promise, adding that ITF had trained more than 450,000 Nigerians in various skills and trades over the last decade and half years.
He said that government also provided affordable credits through schemes such as the N250 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) MSMEs fund and the Growth Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP|).
Mustapha said that the government also initiated several social investment programmes, including the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), N-Power and National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) to reduce socio economic problems in Nigeria.
He advised the beneficiaries to take full advantage of the opportunity and ensure that the Start-Up Packs provided were used in the manner intended.