By Ebenezer Ishola, Abuja
The Director General of the Industrial Trust Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph Ari, (KSM) has linked the unemployment of over 20 million Nigerians to failure to acquire requisite skills, as well as penchant for white collar jobs.
Ari expressed this view at the recently held 1st National Skills Summit held in Abuja, saying to reduce the growing number of the employed in the country, that the mindset and perception that hands-on skills are for a certain group of Nigerians has to change.
The ITF director general identified disconnections between graduates producing institutions and the manpower needs of the nation’s industries.
This disconnection, Ari noted, has led to situation where it is not uncommon to hear employers lament the un-employability of graduates of the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Also identifying the absence of reliable Labour Market Information (LMI) that would have guided Nigerians in career choices and institutions of learning on industry needs, the ITF director general said the Fund was working hard to bridge those gaps; part of which is the reason for the summit.
“Consequently, institutions of learning and human capacity development institutions work on a whim, in the dark and without any form of guidance. The effect of this is that institutions train potential workers in skills that are not needed by the labour market,” the ITF director general said.
Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, on her part, said rising unemployment has accentuated the rising rate of insecurity in the country.
Katagum said to address the insecurity challenges, Nigeria will first of all have to create jobs by equipping Nigerians with skills while also striving to align the educational system to the current needs of the country by making skills acquisition and entrepreneurship training the focal point.
“Skills acquisition has become the currency of countries desirous of development in the 21st century. The T-BRICS nations – Turkey, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – provide ready examples,” the minister said.