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ITF and Youth Skills’ Acquisition

ITF and Youth Skills’ Acquisition


By Leadership Editors

Wednesday, 19 August, 2015

Youth skills’ acquisition was the fulcrum on which the decision by the Federal Government to establish the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in 1971 revolved. Forty four years after, it has proved to be a formidable adjunct to the series of approaches to usefully engage Nigerian youths in skills acquisition. The intention, as in developed nations, is with a view to boosting industrial growth generally.

Perhaps, in keeping with the spirit of this year’s International Youth Day, The Director-General of the Fund, Dr. (Mrs.) Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko, at an event in Lagos recently, said that she was determined to train youths in various skills as one of the ways to meaningfully impact on youth unemployment in the country.

Already, the Fund as part of efforts to actualise its set target of training two million youths annually, has trained one million in the last one year with the innovative collaboration of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA). The focus she said is 100 percent employment.

Through this collaborative effort, 70 per cent of all trainees engaged on the platforms of ITF’s various skill acquisition schemes had been gainfully employed.

Furthermore, with its policy of training 1,000 youths per state in various vocational and technical areas, it has given 74,000 Nigerians employable skills even as about one million benefitted from the overall ITF training projects, in-house and across industries in the last one year.

Most of its training centers also serve as production hubs, with proceeds from the centers given to the trainees as take-off capital upon completing their training.

Before now, ITF was largely known as a perfunctory provider of funds under its skills acquisition programmes. Now, the body, in collaboration with requisite professional training bodies, is providing training for Nigerian youths to ensure that government funds are judiciously spent. However ITF advocates and we agree that the financial institutions should be strengthened to provide support to young entrepreneurs, especially those with skills.

Over the years, Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) programme has become an integral part of training for most students of courses with technical orientation. With some of its perceived inadequacies, there has been calls by stakeholders to make it more efficient and result-oriented.

In response to this, the ITF is currently aligning SIWES with the German Dual Education System because of its conviction that by so doing students’ education and skills will become more relevant to industries.

Already, as a pilot scheme, some trainees were sent as apprentices to the team of the German Dual Vocational Education from Germany and the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The first phase of this pilot scheme has been successfully completed.

In our opinion, leadership is important in the affairs of an institution like the ITF with a critical role to play in youth employment. This is based on our understanding that with the right person at the helm of affairs, getting skills development right is a viable way of reducing unemployment in a growing population.


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