Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, the director-general of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), has called on the Federal Government to encourage vocational skills acquisition and apprenticeship to tackle Nigeria’s rising unemployment rate.
Apprenticeship was a major committee deliberation at the recently concluded International Labour Conference of the (ILO), in Geneva, Switzerland.
Speaking at Geneva during the ILO conference, the DG stated that “with the rising rate of unemployment in the world and Nigeria facing a major unemployment crisis, apprenticeship has been identified as a veritable means of tackling the scourge. It is no gainsaying that with over 35 percent unemployment rate and a challenged economy like ours, the government must look beyond the usual to tackle the ticking time-bomb”.
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Speaking further, Oyerinde stated that “the conversation on apprenticeship has gained prominence all over the world and there is no better time for the government to address our current challenge of rising unemployment with a deliberate apprenticeship policy.
It is pleasing to note that Nigeria is ahead of the world in the promotion of apprenticeship and technical and vocational skills training through a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). The project with ITF remained a model project, equipping thousands of Nigerian youths with scalable skills and competencies that will make them relevant and useful in the Industry, thereby adding value to the economy.
The ITF-NECA project has also been adjudged by the ILO as a model for addressing unemployment and skills mismatch in the country. The outcome of the discussions of the committee on apprenticeship at the ILO also gave credence to the need to refocus on apprenticeship and skills development. The setting of a new international labour standard in the form of a Recommendation on apprenticeship no doubt gained wide acceptance by the constituents of the ILO”, said Oyeridne.