Gyang Bere, Jos
The Director-General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, says that the Fund has reviewed its work plan to drive Federal Government efforts in developing the Nigerian agricultural value chain for job and wealth creation and to ensure food security.
The ITF, he noted, has equipped over 500,000 Nigerians with requisite work-related skills.
Ari, in a press statement signed by the Head, Public Affairs, Suleyol Fred Chagu, said the Fund has commenced the implementation of the second phase of its plan entitled “ITF Reviewed Vision: Strategies for Mandate Actualization”.
‘The ITF will drive the Federal Government’s efforts to develop the agricultural value chain for job and wealth creation and ensure food security in the country,’ he said.
‘The first phase of the plan, which was implemented between 2016 and early 2020 among others equipped over 500,000 Nigerians with skills, over 70 per cent of which are gainfully employed or successful entrepreneurs.’
He noted that the plan which is ‘hundred per cent homegrown’ was targeted at rectifying the pitfalls that were observed in the implementation of the first phase and vowed to build on the achievements of the first phase to support the initiatives of the Federal Government, especially in the agricultural sector.
‘The plan, whose implementation will commence immediately and terminate in 2024, will focus on nine key areas of the Fund’s activities namely: Direct Training Services, Revenue Generation and Sustainable Funding, Resource Utilization, Special Intervention Programmes, Human Capital Development, Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), Research and Development, Automation of Business Processes and other Programmes/Services.’
Ari said the ITF would focus on Curriculum Development, E-Learning, Consultancy Services, Standardization and Certification, Re-engineering Business Development Support (BDS) Services for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Technical and Vocational Skills Programmes, Certification of Apprentices, Technicians and Craftsmen as well as Performance and Productivity Improvement Training, while training programmes will be developed for the Maritime and Oil and Gas sectors that were hitherto not given priority attention by the Fund.
On the COVID-19, the ITF director said that the Fund will develop and implement selected training programmes at no cost to the organisations just as all ITF facilities across the country will be fumigated while face masks and hand sanitizers will be procured for all staff among other COVID-19 interventions.
To ensure that requisite infrastructure is in place for the expected rise in activities, the DG said ‘the ITF has concluded arrangements for the procurement of three additional mobile training units and will establish vocational wings in our Area Offices in Awka, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt, Akure, Gusau and Minna, which will train Nigerians in needed trades in their locale”, adding that “efforts will also be stepped up towards repositioning the Centre for Excellence in Jos for effective service delivery. In this regard, we will accelerate processes to acquire the Jossy Royal Hotel, which acquisition has already been approved by the Federal Executive Council.’
He said in view of the funding challenges that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fund will explore creative and sustainable funding options including approaching multilateral Agencies like the International Labour Organisation (ILO), World Bank, African Development Bank as well as other donor organizations that support some of the activities conducted by our organisation.
The Fund, he added, will work on the realignment of SIWES objectives to prepare students for the world of work, a review of the ITF corporate image and its re-branding, as well as the completion of capital projects across the federation amongst others.
He said: ‘We have talked enough, now is the time for action especially in view of the challenges that Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is facing right now. I, therefore, call on all staff to put all hands on deck towards the actualization of the plan.’