The Employers and Consultative Association (NECA) has called for more deliberate actions by all stakeholders towards ensuring that Nigerian youths become equipped with the skills required in the labour market.
The President of NECA, Taiwo Adeniyi said this would make the youths become better positioned to find decent jobs or start a business as an entrepreneur.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the maiden batch of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF)-NECA Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) at the NECA Digital Training Centre, at the weekend, NECA President noted that as the voice of business in the organized private sector of Nigeria, NECA is committed to contributing to youth empowerment through technical skills development.
“We will continue to call for action by government and all stakeholders, to urgently come together, to invest and build the frameworks and sustainable models that will enormously impact the youths of this Country,” he said.
He expressed that the global health and economic crisis have further heightened the national challenge of youth restiveness, agitation and social vices being perpetuated in the society.
Adeniyi said these challenges point to the root causes of widespread poverty, youth unemployment and underemployment.
According to him, Nigeria is the most populous Country in Africa and has one of the largest youth populations in the world numbering over 33.6 million.
He said, “Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals that, Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the second quarter of 2020, is 27.1% indicating about 21.7 Nigerians as unemployed, with a 13.9 million as the number of Nigerian youths that are unemployed.
“The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) heeded the call to action since 2009 following research findings on required skills in the Nigerian economy, environmental effects and labour market information which revealed dearth of Technical and Vocational Skills.”
The NECA President said ITF-NECA through the Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) joint initiative, have been empowering Nigerian youths for over 11 years in over 30 Technical and vocational trade areas to meet the identified needs of industries and the country.
He however opined that as a way out of the impending national and global crisis, quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is widely recognized as having an important role to play in tackling youth unemployment and underemployment.
He said the world of work and the business environment is evolving, stating that with this evolution comes opportunities for youths with the right skills, who have the strength and capacity to work, grow and contribute to themselves, the standard of living of their families, to their community and society.
He stated, “Every youth in our country today must determine to be equipped with the technical and vocational skills which are in demand in the national and international labour market.
With the strides in technology over the last decade, opportunities have opened up for individuals and businesses to operate virtually.
“The demand for Information Communication Technology and digital skills is on the increase.
I, therefore, congratulate all our Trainees Graduating today. We believe that you will make good use of the information and communication technology skills that you have acquired.”
The NECA Director General, Timothy Olawale said the students who have been in training for four months have acquired skills in Information technology which cut across web designing, social media, digital marketing and others.
The ITF Deputy Director, Training Manager, Ikeja Industrial Scheme Training Centre, James Fanope who represented the ITF, Director General, Joseph Ani recalled past collaboration with NECA which has always led to automatic employment for the participants.