ITF tasks govts on skills acquisition

By Mary Okoh

The Director General/Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, has called on state governments and other stakeholders to sponsor trainees on skills acquisition programmes.
Ari, who was represented by the Area Manager, Uzoamaka Yahaya, made the appeal during a press briefing held in Enugu on Thursday.
He explained that such sponsorship would entail payment of monthly stipends to trainees, payment of master craftsman allowance and provision of start-up kits to trainees.
He said, "with the number of Nigerians that are currently unemployed and going by population projections, the 300,000 people the Fund has trained in 2018 may appear like a drop of water in the ocean. It is in this regard that I will seize this opportunity to call on state governments and other stakeholders to sponsor additional trainers for our skills acquisition programmes.
“I also want to stress that tackling unemployment through skills acquisition cannot and should not be viewed as the sole responsibility of the ITF and other agencies of the Federal Government alone. The co-operation and collaboration of all state governments, the organized private sector, politicians and other stakeholders will be critical for a multiplier effect. Our doors are therefore open for collaboration in any aspect of human capacity development and vocational and technical skills training.
"One of the most important challenges to Technical Vocational Skills Acquisition is the perception that they are the 3Ds - Dangerous, Dirty and Dreadful. Once we can get out of this perception, we will realize that skills acquisition is the way to go."
According to him, ITF re-articulated and refocused its activities with greater emphasis on skills acquisition to create jobs to stem rampant unemployment and breed a new generation of entrepreneurs to transform the economic landscape of the country.

"To achieve this, the incumbent management in 2016 unveiled one of its most ambitious plans since establishment. Tagged the ITF Reviewed Vision: Strategies for Mandate Actialization, the year plan was divided into quick wins, short, medium and long term goals. The implementation of the plan commenced in 2016 and will terminate in 2022. The overriding objectives of the plan was to accelerate the impartation of technical vocational skills to Nigerians, aggressively address service challenges, tackle infrastructures deficits, expand revenue generation and a gamut of other structures hamstringing the actualization of the funds mandate.
"More than two years into its implementation, I am delighted to announce to you that, it has exceeded expectations by training over 450,00 Nigerians, who are today earning sustainable livelihoods as paid employees, or as entrepreneurs that are even employing others," he said.

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