By Vincent Ujumadu

AWKA — NO fewer than 11,100 unemployed Nigerians are to be trained by the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, as part of efforts of the Federal Government towards solving the problem of unemployment in the country. The training programme, which had already taken off in many states of the federation, would expose the trainees to over 30 trades and crafts.

The beneficiaries would also receive monthly stipend of N5000 during the training period taking place in mainly private establishments that had understanding with the ITF in skills acquisition programmes.

Director-General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari said during the commencement of the training in Awka, Anambra State, that it had become necessary to equip Nigerians with skills following the discovery that foreigners were occupying positions meant for Nigerians due to lack of skills on the part of Nigerians.

According to Ari, ITF had already trained over 100,000 Nigerians in the various trades and crafts, adding that most of the beneficiaries were either gainfully employed, or had become successful entrepreneurs and employers of labour.

He said: “In Anambra State, the programme will equip 300 youths, aged between 18 and 35 years, with skills in welding and fabrication, tailoring and fashion design, plumbing and pipe-fitting. The selected trades and crafts were chosen based on an in-depth study that revealed their projected value addition to the beneficiaries and their potentialities to provide a sustainable means of livelihood for them on graduation.

Unlike the previous phases of the programme where the ITF relied solely on the state governments for starter packs, ITF will provide every beneficiary with starter packs because the aim is to ensure that all the beneficiaries start their businesses immediately.”

According to the ITF boss, results of a tracking system that monitors the development of graduates of the programme showed that up to 90 per cent of the beneficiaries had sustainable livelihood, either as paid workers or as entrepreneurs, who were even employing others. He urged the state governments to support the ITF by sponsoring additional number of people so that the required impact would be felt across the country, explaining that ITF would in future run several streams within a phase to accommodate the envisaged expansion.

Anambra Area Manager of ITF, Mrs. Chika Opara, said the three-month National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) was initiated because despite the fact that millions of Nigerians were without work, surveys, including those conducted by the ITF, had revealed that vacancies in numerous sectors of the economy were filled by foreigners on the guise that Nigerians lacked the requisite technical skills in those areas. According to her, the problem represented a clear danger as it threatened the attainment of key government policies.

Anambra State Commissioner for Youth, Entrepreneurship and Sports, Dr. Uju Nwogu, commended the Federal Government for its commitment in job creation and diversification of the economy as envisioned by President Muhammadu Buhari. She assured ITF of the willingness of the state government to partner it in the training and skills acquisition for the youths, advising the trainees to be determined to succeed by remaining focused.

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