The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) on Monday launched the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) in a bid to create more opportunities for Nigerian youths to acquire skills for employability.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, the Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari explained that “the Framework, if implemented has the potential to drastically reduce unemployment, while also affording the youths the opportunity to earn income while learning”.
He said the programme would “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.
“In addition, 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”.
Ari further stated that “ITF as a Learning and Development Organization, benchmarked its operations with global trends in the Industry giving rise to the enunciation of new policies such as the Reviewed Vision and the 9-Point Strategic Plan.
“By the middle of the year 2022, the ITF, still leveraging on new training trends, realized the need to refocus its operations along indices that will escalate job and wealth creation. And having had collaborative synergies and experience with Germany on its Dual System, Crown Agents of the UK, Senai of Brazil and GIMI of Israel which all emphasize apprenticeship, it became imperative to develop a new vision along that pathway.
“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.
“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,” he said.
The DG noted that “for our aspirations to be met, the ITF requires synergy and collaboration from all stakeholders involved in TVET. Already, as earlier mentioned, we are in collaboration with NECA under the Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP) which has already trained over fifty-five thousand Nigerians. We are also in collaboration with several other organizations including Skills4Prosperity in our quest to institutionalise NATS in Nigeria.
“Indeed, S4P has been an invaluable partner in the development of this framework. But apart from the aforementioned, the ITF is in discussion with Rohde & Schwarz from Germany for higher education innovation and youth employability in Nigeria. The company has expressed its desire to use the Industrial Training Fund as a gateway to bringing innovation into Nigeria for the benefit of the youth”.
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