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‘Skill acquisition solution to youths’ illegal migration’

‘Skill acquisition solution to youths’ illegal migration’

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The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said skill acquisition is the solution to youths’ illegal migration

Speaking with The Nation, its Director-General, Sir Joseph Ari, said one of the mandates of the ITF was to make Nigerians, especially the youth, self reliant in terms of skills acquisition, but the youths are yet to embrace the concept.

According to him, many of the youth migrate to Europe and other African countries to eke out a living, subjecting themselves to humiliation and danger.

He said: “Solution to the rising migration of Nigerian youths lies in skill acquisition. We are disturbed by this ugly trend and reports of mass casualties on the high sea, enslavement and other harrowing misfortunes being experienced by Nigerian youths, seeking to migrate to Europe.

“The ITF is appealing to stakeholders to collaborate with ITF in order to equip more Nigerians with skills for employability and entrepreneurship.

“Equipping Nigerians with relevant skills is not only in line with the Federal Government’s efforts to create jobs, but would stem the current wave of migration, especially by the youths that have culminated into loss of lives and enslavement of thousands of productive Nigerians.

“I keep wondering why the mass migration despite the fact that several surveys by the ITF and other organisations have revealed that skills gaps exist that are being filled by foreigners.”

Ari said it was with a view to equipping Nigerians with skills to fill existing vacancies that the ITF embarked on a number of initiatives and expanded existing programmes to ensure that more Nigerians are empowered with skills to check unemployment and promote entrepreneurship.

He listed some of the programmes to include the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Passion to Profession, Training on Wheels Using Mobile Training Units, the Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP), the Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) as well as the Vulnerable and Indigent Youth Empowerment Programme (VIYEP) among others.

Ari said the ITF has trained over 100, 000 Nigerians since it commenced. He said under the current phase ongoing in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the ITF is training 11,100 with skills in welding and fabrication, tailoring, garment making, plumbing and pipe fitting.

He said in the last one year alone, over 70, 000 Nigerians benefited from these skills acquisition programmes and all the beneficiaries were given starter packs to start their businesses.

“About 90 per cent of the beneficiaries are either currently successful entrepreneurs or earning their livelihood as paid employees, according to the monitoring and evaluation of graduates conducted by the ITF. The state governments, for instance, could collaborate with the ITF towards the establishment of Industrial Skill Training Centres (ISTCs), which will be managed by the ITF on their behalf,” Ari said.

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