The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has handed over ultra-modern woodwork and carpentry workshops it renovated and upgraded at the Government Technical College (GTC), Abak, Akwa Ibom State.
A press statement by the Corporate Communications department of NCDMB said the commissioning was performed last Friday by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, and NCDMB Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote.
In his address, Wabote disclosed that NCDMB invests in the rehabilitation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions (TVETs) as they provide platforms for job creation and self-empowerment.
Wabote added that the development of skilled technicians drives the socio-economic growth aspirations of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and engages youths in productive ventures.
He emphasised the need to provide high-quality manpower training and skills development for the teeming youths in the country, which was why the NCDMB undertook a study on TVETs in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers State to understand the factors militating against the optimal performance of those institutions.
Wabote mentioned that the board had finalized plans for the implementation of a public-private partnership in collaboration with Akwa Ibom State and a specialist modern furniture production firm, owned and managed by an indigene of the Abak community.
The statement said a certain percentage of the proceeds will be ploughed back for the operational maintenance of the facilities to achieve self-sustenance.
Wabote commended the Abak community and Akwa Ibom State Government for their cooperation in actualising the projects, stating that the board’s decision to have earmarked GTC, Abak as one of the flagship beneficiaries of its institutional upgrade program was not an effort in futility.
The Executive Secretary thanked all stakeholders for the zero-incidence recorded and the unparalleled hospitality the Abak community extended to the contractors and personnel.
He charged the technical institution which is one of the foremost in the region to become a centre of excellence in carpentry/woodwork through the provision of high-quality training to both teachers and students in an affordable, safe, sustainable, and efficient manner.
According to the statement, that should be done while satisfying the yearnings of the local and international furniture industry as part of efforts to create wealth and diversify the economy as well as increasing foreign exchange earnings.
Wabote decried the low level of students’ enrolment into TVETs institutions, which is less than one percent of the total enrolment in conventional secondary schools.
Noting that youths make up more than 50 percent of the nation’s population, he regretted that the nation is yet to fully harness its potential in driving economic growth as many young people are faced with challenges ranging from lack of practical skills, unemployment, and illiteracy, among others.
Wabote also challenged youths of the country to acquire marketable skills and competencies that will position them to overcome the high rate of poverty, social vices, unemployment, and underemployment in the country.
He hinted that harnessing and refocusing the creative energies of youths to productive endeavours through aggressive skills development training in various relevant trades will foster sustainable development.
In his remarks, Governor Udom Emmanuel commended NCDMB for partnering with the state to renovate and upgrade the technical facility to create job opportunities for skilled manpower, which illustrates patriotism and commitment to national development.
Udom asserted that the project was in line with the administration’s industrialisation policy of taking youths off the street through efficient skills acquisition and empowerment, and an incubation process of converting these skills into entrepreneurial gains and self-reliance.
The executive chairman, Akwa Ibom State Technical Schools Board, (ASTEB), Godwin Udom also stated that the cardinal objective of technical schools is to train persons in diverse practical fields adding that such schools needed standard and well-equipped workshops with specialised instructors in different trade areas.
Udom expressed gratitude to NCDMB for the project noting that the project which commenced on January 27, 2019, was now ready for the students to acquire modern skills in furniture making and for the staff to update their knowledge and also assist the unemployed in the community.
The principal-general of GTC, Abak, Friday Emmanson Udoka also expressed appreciation to NCDMB for choosing the school for its demonstration of technical education advancement.
Udoka pledged to ensure that the facilities will be put to maximum use improving the knowledge and skill of the students and staff.
He enumerated other assistance received from the board to include training of two science teachers and provision of three computer-oriented machines for teaching science subjects and other related subjects to the students.