In a bid to tackle the huge unemployment crisis in Nigeria, particularly among the youths, the Federal Government is seeking to institutionalise an apprenticeship system of skills acquisition as a means of grooming employable skills and reducing poverty in the country.
Speaking, on Thursday, at the National Skills Summit organised by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in Abuja, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Otunba Adebayo, lamented that there was a huge vacuum of skilled power force in Nigeria.
According to him, “what the Government, however, finds quite worrisome is that although most of our programmes get the expected outcomes in terms of jobs created, Nigerians with the requisite skills are shockingly lacking even as unemployment and poverty perpetuate.
Represented by the Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb Maryam Katagum, Adebayo said “apprenticeship and traineeship, which is one aspect of skills acquisition will play a key role given the numerous advantages it offers and its efficacy in solving some of the challenges we are facing in climes it has been fully explored.
“Among its many comparative advantages, successful apprenticeships and traineeship have the potential to generate and build new skills, provide the most efficient way to train all-round craftsmen to meet present and future needs, assure an adequate supply of skilled workers to fill employment opportunities, assure the community of competent craftsmen, skilled in all aspects of their trade, provide the versatility necessary to meet changing conditions, open the door to new opportunities, improve your employability status, earn while you learn, gain industry-recognised qualifications, get a feel of the work environment, and gain hands-on experience,” he stated.
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Adebayo further explained that “overall, given the number of people that can be engaged in apprenticeship and traineeship at a given time, it offers a greater opportunity for us to overcome persisting unemployment and poverty,” the Minister stated.
In his welcome address, the Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari said “In Nigeria, apprenticeship has been an age-long tradition and an institution that was jealously guarded by customs, lineage and rituals.
“It was a common feature of the traditional setting to see people engage in a vocation such as farming, carving, carpentry, sculpting, building, welding, catering and boat-making amongst others.
“This practice, which has persisted to date entailed that the apprentices lived with their masters and received no pay except maintenance and training. After the period of training and after satisfying the required standard of proficiency in that particular trade, the apprentice then graduates to a journeyman.
“The journeyman is a worker who has passed the stage of apprenticeship but is not yet qualified to be a master, and still worked under a master to receive more experience, especially in management, leadership and customer handling, and received a fixed wage for his labour.”
Ari noted that “this form of apprenticeship is regarded as traditional apprenticeship, which is not viable to enhance the economic development of a country and has not helped in curbing issues of unemployment and various other societal problems in our country.
“In appreciation of the potential of apprenticeship and skills acquisition generally, to enhance employability and job creation, the Federal Government established various institutions that will drive the actualisation of National objectives and coupled with the recognition that investments in human capital had greater potential than infrastructural development or the building of machines.
“With the high unemployment rate in the country, it will not be farfetched to conclude that our current model of learning has failed to live up to its purposes and therefore, the need to consider additional educational options that will serve to boost our national apprenticeship scheme.
“I believe that this summit will provide us with the platform to finally articulate strategies for a robust apprenticeship scheme in the country,” he concluded.
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FG moves to institutionalise apprenticeship system to tackle unemployment in Nigeria