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ITF, NECA commit to boost youth employability with vocational skills

As Nigeria continues to implement programmes aimed at bridging the unemployment and underemployment challenges among the youth population, 42 participating organisations in the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) have reiterated commitment to deepen technical and vocational training adoption through skills acquisition for entrepreneurship.

Under the ITF-NECA Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP), about 11, 000 youth are trained annually by participating partners, who have been absolving 80 percent of the trainees since inception in 2009.

Timothy Olawale, the DG of NECA said, one of the components of the technical skills training is the ‘start and improve’ your own business module of the international labour organisation (ILO).

According to him, the TSDP training is one of the critical reasons why all 42 participating partners embarked on the implementation of the technical skills development programme.

“To solve the unemployment problem in the country and to address underemployment, and to also address the issue of the gap in middle-level manpower skills that are required,” said Olawale.

According to Olawale, several surveys have shown that there is a need to develop entrepreneurial skills among Nigerian youth. “The jobs are always available in the private sector but lack of employable skills has been the challenge for our youth,” said Olawale.

The NECA DG stated that the remaining less than 20 percent trainees not absolved after the training, were not based on non- availability of spaces; but because they have chosen to stand on their own and start their own businesses.

Joseph Ari, the DG/chief executive of the ITF, said the impact of vocational and technical skills development on Nigeria’s economy cannot be over emphasised.

According to Ari, most agile population in Nigeria remain either unemployed or underemployed, hence the ITF-NECA Technical Skills Development (TSDP) programme is to bridge Nigeria’s employment challenges.

Ari opined that a critical challenge facing Nigeria with the trend in the future of work is the development of competent workforce and a sustained economic growth in the global economy.

Mariam Katagum, minister of state for industry, trade and investment, said the TSDP was conceived to address challenges of unemployment, underemployment and restiveness among Nigerian youth.

According to her, the programme provides a platform to acquire competent skills towards national development.

The stakeholders’ dialogue forum and award ceremony is an avenue for implementing partners to evaluate and update activities for better understanding how they have successfully fulfil their roles.

This will enable all parties to collaborate better in order to bring about the achievement of the project goals which includes reduction of unemployment, underemployment among the youth population in Nigeria through technical, vocational and entrepreneurship training.

The awards ceremony equally provides the opportunity for the project to celebrate outstanding trainees in the different trade areas from each of the training centre. All awardees, about 33 from 10 locations across the country got business starter packs.

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