By Okechukwu Jombo
The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has launched the first framework for National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) to train youths on skills acquisition that will enable them to be self-reliant and add to national development in Abuja.
The Director General/Chief Executive, Sir Joseph Ari says that the launch is aimed at effectively deploying skills acquisition as a vehicle for combatting unemployment, reducing poverty and the overall growth and development of Nigeria.
According to him, the pathway to this current policy of National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) has come on account of a robust trajectory of vision formulation; noting that the vision threw up strategies with short, medium and long-term goals.
“For the ITF to meaningfully drive this vision, the need to have partners of like minds became imperative. Locally, the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella body of the Organized Private Sector (OPS), and internationally, the Skills for Prosperity (S4P) UK, became readily available. The firming up of partnership with these bodies gave rise to the First Skills Summit in March, 2022 where a new vision anchored on National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System was unveiled”.
“Since then, a lot of work has been done to strengthen this partnership. In this regard, issues like inauguration/sensitization of stakeholders, development of framework and validation have been successfully concluded and it shall witness the fruition of this laudable process, which is aimed at adding value to the Federal Government’s job and wealth creation efforts”, he added.
The Framework according to Sir Ari, when implemented has the potential to drastically reduce unemployment, while also affording the youths the opportunity to earn income while learning, enhance eligibility for financial assistance while on training, and also engage a sizeable number of youths since it does not require formal education as a prerequisite.
He also noted that, a functional National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System will ensure a structured approach to skills acquisition and certification leading to an increase in the number of MSMEs and the expansion of existing ones, a reduction in unemployment, underemployment, social vices and crime rates, and improvement in the quality of services of Technicians and Craftsmen. Above all, enriching the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System with international certification for the various vocational trades will promote balanced employment and competition amongst our youths, just as it will serve as a viable source of foreign earnings for the country through the export of skills.
“Our optimism on the potential of NATS to change the employment situation in Nigeria is premised on the fact that countries such as Germany, China, Austria, the USA and others that at various times faced similar challenges as we are contending with today completely altered their situations with greater investments in skills acquisition and apprenticeship training”.
He stressed that the ITF is ready and open to collaboration, partnership, consultation and other forms of engagement with all Stakeholders to institutionalise NATS for employment generation, job and wealth creation in our dear country.