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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Skills acquisition: boosting opportunities for job seekers

Since the global financial meltdown of 2008, govern­ments around the world have been grappling with the challeng­es of sustaining economic growth through industrialisation and job creation initiatives for their citi­zens and economies.
The launch of the National In­dustrial Revolution Plan by Presi­dent Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, set the stage for the reform of the country’s industrial sector, with emphasis on areas of compara­tive and competitive advantages as well as the provision of jobs for the teeming population of unem­ployed youths.

However, employers of labour especially in the manufacturing sector, have often complained of the availability of jobs, but the dearth of employable skilled persons. This situation has led to the reliance on expatriates most times to fill the gap, until Nigeri­ans are trained over a period of years to take over from them.

Indeed it is often bemoaned that potential job-seekers especially in the graduate cadre lack the req­uisite qualification to clinch the myriad of job opportunities in­dustries have to offer. However, in order to correct the situation, President Goodluck Jonathan has utilised interventionist agen­cies like the Industrial Training Fund, (ITF) and the National Di­rectorate of Employment (NDE), by constantly creating new, ex­citing and sustainable jobs and developing the nation’s human capital to admirable heights.

An agency like the ITF has made some notable strides and impact which industry stakehold­ers have recognised as milestones that could turn the odds in the favor of Nigerian youths, if sus­tained and expanded to cover ev­ery state in the country and all sectors of the economy.

Under the present administra­tion, ITF has successfully trained and equipped youths with ad­vanced employable skills in the numerous occupational areas, such as facility maintenance technology (FCT) mechanical & electrical services, information and communication technology (ICT) and culinary skills western and African dishes.

Other areas where the ITF has made highly appreciable im­pact, according to observers, are in mechatronics (Automation and Autotronics), Electronics, ie Computer and Networking) (ECN),with many of them insist­ing the training programmes has not only equipped trainees for a successful and rewarding career but also paved the way to long life education and training.

For the ITF however, those in the know said it was obvious the Fund was living up to its man­date. This notion, according to Author and Human Resource Management Expert, Mr Kunle Rotimi, is even more evident, when consideration is given to initiatives the ITF has spearhead­ed in recent times, particularly since a new leadership headed by Dr Mrs Juliet Chukkas - Onaeko, came on board as Director Gen­eral and Chief Executive Officer in the latter part of 2014.

Rotimi noted that the ITF through its high quality world class training has to a large and reasonable extent, curtailed so­cial unrest and tension within the country.
He said beneficiaries of the Fund’s training programmes, including ex militants from the nation’s Niger Delta region, has consistently proved themselves worthy wherever they are en­gaged, saying the unemployment situation in the country would have assumed a more critical dimension, were it not for the ef­forts and intervention of the ITF and support from President Jona­than.

“Kudos must also be given to the President for having the fore­sight to review the laws setting up the Fund.The review of the ITF’s law in 2011 has positively changed the face of manpower training and development in the country, as stakeholders and partners now feel more concerned and respon­sive to their manpower, training and development responsibili­ties.” Rotimi explained.

Assessing the manpower de­velopment initiatives of the ITF, Training Expert and Managing Director of Prot Consulting In­ternational, Mr. Sunny Agboju, said Nigerian and the West Afri­cansub-regional economies are better for it.

ITF’s trainees and graduates, according to Agboju, have re­mained “hot cakes”. He said the level and quality of vocational training, coupled with the limit­less opportunities it presents to Nigerian youths cannot be over emphasised.

Speaking on these positives strides, Human Resource Man­agement Expert and Registrar, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, (CIPM), Mr Sunday Adeyemi, said the re­cent graduation of many youths in various fields of vocational studies from the Industrial Skills Training Center (ISTC) of the In­dustrial Training Fund, ITF has brought to the fore the role the scheme is playing to eliminate unemployment.

Describing these positives development by the Fund and speaking of it as a direct mani­festation of President Goodluck Jonathan transformation, Direc­tor General, ITF, Dr. Mrs Juliet-Chukkas-Onaeko, said the ITF is determined to give the requisite skills to the teeming Nigerian youths, make them independent of government jobs, in order to turn them to entrepreneurs and employers of labour.

The ITF, Onaeko said, is also poised to establish additional 44 skill acquisition centers across the country under its National In­dustrial Skills Development Pro­gramme, (NISDP).

Graduates who had completed the required courses in electron­ics and computer networking and information and communication, welding and fabrication, auto mechanics, cooling technology amongst others have been pro­duced by the ITF,the DG said.

She noted further that 38 of the centres would be for industrial skill training, while another six would be used for advanced skills training to provide direct employ­ment and empower youths with employable skills.

       Source -Daily Times Nigeria

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