By Emmanuella Anokam
The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) said it had trained and empowered about 11,100 youths under its 2020 National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) to mitigate unemployment, poverty and its consequences.
Joseph Ari, ITF Director-General disclosed this at the graduation and distribution of Start-Up Packs to the beneficiaries on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the event coincided with the 50th Anniversary of ITF.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme conducted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and captures 300 youths in each of states of the federation and FCT.
Under this phase of the NISDP, the youths were trained nationwide in three trades namely: Tailoring, Cosmetology and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
He said the fund had equally commenced processes for the implementation of another round of skill acquisition programmes nationwide, which would commence first week of June.
The ITF boss lauded the Federal Government for investing in the initiatives which he said had significantly reduced the problems of unemployment and poverty.
In a bid to cushion the adverse effects of the pandemic and address other challenges of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, he recalled that government inaugurated MSMEs Survival Fund that benefitted thousands of operators.
He said the government also increased number of beneficiaries under the N-power programme from 500,000 to 1,000,000 amongst other efforts designed to actualise its target of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
Ari, however, said that more was needed to be done going by the report of survey by the National Bureau of Statistics of fourth quarter of 2020 that unemployment was still hovering at over 33 per cent while youth unemployment was 44 per cent.
“What is again very clear is that the efforts of the Federal Government alone cannot completely solve the problems of poverty and unemployment and the attendant fallouts.
“Indeed, the problems that stare us in the face today require Nigerians to pull together and synergise to fully resolve them.
“Until we tow this path, even our population that should ordinarily be an asset will become a liability.
“And we, as a nation will continue to fight a losing battle against the blights of poverty and unemployment and their attendant consequences due to perilous intersection and nexus between poverty and crime rate,” he noted.
He said the fund had repositioned its activities since 2016, leading to equipping hundreds of thousands of Nigerians with skills to earn sustainable livelihoods.
He further said that thousands of others were equally trained in other skills acquisition programmes including the Special Skills Development Programme (SSDP) and Federal Government Skills Empowerment Programme (FEGOSEP).
He included others as the Info-Tech Skills Empowerment Programme (ISEP) and the Agri-Preneurship Training Programme (ATP).
Ari advised the beneficiaries to utilise the opportunity provided by the training to transform themselves and contribute meaningfully to Nigerian economy.
In appreciation, a beneficiary, Mr Austin Onuoha, thanked the government and ITF management for the privilege to acquire skills which many Nigerians were longing to acquire.
Onuoha, while exhibiting some of his tailoring samples said he would use the knowledge garnered to make impact and contribute his quota to the economy.
Another beneficiary, Okpeyemi Sekirat who expressed gladness said she never knew how to sew, but after the training she became competent in sewing and designing.
She appealed to government to sustain and expand various ITF skills acquisition programmes in order to reach out to many youths to stem criminality and other vices.
NAN reports that the fund also presented the beneficiaries with Start-Up Packs and will equally follow up and monitor them to encourage utilisation, continuity and impact in society. (NAN)