By Hafsat Abdullahi
The Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, has said the agency was able to train over 150,000 Nigerians who are earning sustainable livelihoods as paid employees or entrepreneurs since its inception of its new policy plan of ITF Reviewed Vision: Strategy for Mandate Actualization, designed to achieve President Muhammadu Buhari job creation agenda.
He made this known yesterday in a press conference held in Abuja to explain the activities and objectives of the Industrial Training Fund, where he said commenced in 2016 and will end in 2022.
Ari explained that the achievement and development of ITF was as a result of expanding existing skills acquisition programmes and introducing new ideas, which he said they are working to fill up.
He said that the Fund provided its beneficiaries with start-up kit to enable them to start their businesses upon graduation, unlike in the past were it depended on state governments to provide start-up kits for trainees.
According to him “The ITF in conjunction with the United Nations Industrial Development organization (UNIDO) conducted a national skill gap assessment in agri-business and agro-allied, metal and solid minerals, oil and gas industry, construction, light manufacturing and services industry.
“The reports of the survey showed that there were vacancies which existed in several sectors of the economy despite unemployment but could not be filled by Nigerians due to lack of requisite skills or were filled by foreigners”.
He further explained that in order to address the contradiction of spiraling unemployment and President Muhammadu Buhari’s job creation drive, the management brought about some specific programmes such as National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Post-Harvest Techniques and Project Development, Women SKills Empowerement Programme (WOSEP), Designing and Garmet Making, poultry farming, Manure Production, Aqua-culture/Fish Farming amogst many.
He added that the ITF will commence a fresh training session for about 13,000 jobless Nigerians, but lamented that it is still a drop of water in the ocean, especially considering that training a nation is more than training a company.