The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, says most youths are unemployed because of lack of functional skills.
Ngige said this while declaring open a one-day trade Job, Career and Employability Fair, on Thursday in Abuja.
The fair was organised by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the theme: “Promoting Employability, Skills Development and Decent Work’’.
Ngige, represented by Mrs Tilda Mmegwa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, said all stakeholders must be actively involved in preparing the African workforce for the ‘future of work’.
According to him, the Nigerian government is conscious of the fact that most of the unemployed are those without functional skills.
“Our strategy, therefore, is to equip the unemployed youths with market-driven skills, which will facilitate their access to self or paid employment.
“In recognition of this reality, my ministry is keenly committed to equipping unemployed graduates with entry point competences to make them employable.
“I am therefore happy to inform you that my ministry is scheduled to train 37,000 unemployed graduates, 1,000 in each of the states of the federation and FCT, on soft skills and marketable resume.
“In the coming months, we will also train 3,500 unemployed youth in various vocations including fashion design, catering and event management, solar panel and CCTV installation, among others,’’ he said.
The minister said that each of the trainees would be empowered with starter-packs to immediately venture into business.
He said that the initiatives showcased the commitment of the present administration to provide the young unemployed jobs seekers with the cutting-edge skills to start a self or a paid one.
Ms Vanessa Phala, ILO Country Director, noted that many jobs had been lost due to COVID-19 and that the rate of unemployment had continued to increase.
Phala said that there was no social protection, while calling on the youth to ensure that they adapt to new knowledge that would make them gain employment.
Also, Mr Taiwo Adeniyi, the NECA President, said the fair was organised to enhance employability and improve chances of youths and job seekers getting employed.
Adeniyi, who was represented by Mrs Olubunmi Adekoje, Director-General, Federation of Construction Industry, said to ensure maximum impact and a wide spread, the fair would also be held at Port-Harcourt and Enugu. NAN