Gyang Bere, Jos
Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, has said that Nigeria risks total collapse if the nation does not prioritise skills acquisition and entrepreneurship among Universities graduates to address youths restiveness in the country.
He said recent studies postulated that the country’s population will grow up to 500 million by 2050 and if drastic action is not taken now by policy makers to engage Nigerians into one trade and another, they country would become a shadow of itself in the near future.
Mr. Ari disclosed this yesterday during a press interaction with members of the correspondent chapel of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau State in Jos.
“We must drum into the ears of Government, drum into the ears of policy makers and drum into the ears of critical stakeholders that the country will collapse if urgent action is not taken to encourage the provision of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship among students and idle Nigerians.
“I will be very glad if my son says he want to be a machine, we should not only encouraged paper qualification but skills development, that is the only away Nigeria can be maneuver out of unemployment and turbulent economy.”
He explained that ITF has trained 60,000 Nigerians from 2,300 organisations and over 50,000 youths and other vulnerable groups were equipped with skills for employment and entrepreneurship through National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) and Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP among others.
Mr. Ari stressed that 500 indigent rural women from 13 states and the FCT were trained across 32 centres in 11 trade areas, covering Event Management, Cosmetology, Poultry Farming, Bead Making, Baking and Pastry, Soap/Disinfectant/Detergent making, Hair making, Food processing, Tailoring and Fashion Design, Tie and Dye and Electrical Installation.
He said N1 billion has been disbursed as student and supervisory allowance to 328 tertiary institutions under Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) to encourage skills acquisition among student rather then acquiring only paper qualification.
Mr. Ari said Nigeria has a lot of graduates who only acquired the theoretical knowledge of their field of studies but are not fit into the working environment because the lack the requisite skills to operate.