The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has unveiled its strategic policy document direction for 2022-2025. The document, designed to address unemployment challenges plaguing the country as well as to meet the skills requirement of the nation in line with global best practices, was unveiled on Monday.
Speaking at the ocassion, ITF Director-General, Sir Joseph Ari, said the document was in line with the mandate of ITF to develop a vast pool of skilled manpower sufficient to meet the needs of the public and private sectors of the national economy. Ari pointed out that unemployment in Nigeria hovered at over 33 per cent, as over 23 million Nigerians that are desirous to work cannot find jobs, mostly because of the absence of requisite skills. He lamented that many Nigerians have been wallowing in abject poverty due to unemployment, adding that the rate of out-of-school children has been on the increase. “Poverty is equally on the rise with some estimates placing the number of Nigerians that are living in poverty to be over 90 million. “In the face of all these, our population has continued to soar with the World Bank estimating that Nigeria might hit 216 million by the end of this year. “Equally worrisome is the specter of the Out of School Children, which according to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) is projected to be over 18.5 million.
“Although the Federal Government and, indeed, governments at all levels have implemented measures to tackle these challenges, it has become increasingly obvious that efforts have to be redoubled by all and sundry for us to effectively rid the country of these challenges,” he noted. The ITF boss revealed that the new policy framework, with the theme: “Re-Engineering Skills for Sustainable Development” had external and internal components. The internal components of the plan, according to him, which entail value reorientation, Industrial Development, Commercialisation of ITF Facilities, Alternative Funding Window, Deployment and Promotion, Annual Budget Preparation and, Revenue Generation are intended to drive the external components of the new policy direction, which cover Standardisation and Certification, Technical and Vocational Skills Training Programmes, Skills Intervention Programmes, Electronic and Virtual Learning and, Optimal Utilisation of Skills Training Centres (STCs) and Vocational Wings (VWs). On Standardisation and Certification, Ari explained that the Fund under the new policy direction would “focus on ensuring full adherence to standards and regulating vocational skills training outfits through the accreditation of skills training centres and certification of all skills training in line with the Act.”
To actualise this, he said, the Fund would develop National Occupational Standards (NOS); evaluate and certify apprentices, technicians and craftsmen; train and certify learning and development professionals as well as create and maintain a data bank on skills training. “When fully in place, our efforts will lead to the development of a robust National Occupational Standard (NOS); create a pool of certified apprentices, technicians and craftsmen as well as assessors and verifiers as well as create a pool of certified learning and development professionals and a regulated skills training environment,” he explained. On Technical and Vocational Skills Programmes, he disclosed that the Fund would collaborate with relevant public and private stakeholders for National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS); appraise and harmonise apprenticeship programmes in line with set guidelines; conduct monitoring and evaluation and; design and develop technical and vocational skills programmes in line with the needs of the economy.