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Skills: Okowa lauds ITF for training, empowering over 5,000 youths in Delta


Miss Ruth Irho, NISDP  trainee, flanked by parents while receiving starter pack from ITF at the closing of 2021 NISDP programme  in Asaba



By Ifeanyi Olannye

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has lauded  the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for training and empowering no fewer than 5,000  women and youths on skills acquisition in the state.

Okowa gave the commendation while delivering a keynote address in Asaba, at the official closing of the 11th phase of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), a Federal Government flagship youths development and jobs creation scheme.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 100 women and youths, who  graduated in the 2021 NISDP programmes from both Warri and Asaba training centres, were trained in Catering and Event management, and Plumbing and Pipe fitting for three months.

The governor, represented by the Executive Secretary, Delta State Technical and Vocational Education Board, Mr Smart Ikem, said that acquiring technical skills remains the way out of the current woods of youths unemployment and reoccurring violence in the society.

The governor, while assuring ITF of support through partnership, said that Delta Government had also keyed into various skills acquisition schemes to empower women, youths and the girl child through requisite training and empowerment.

“This is to make them entrepreneurs and employers of labour, rather than seekers  of job.

“Delta is also a home of skill training and entrepreneurs development, so, we commend the Federal Government and the ITF for this empowerment which has not only reduced unemployment, but violence in the society,” Okowa said.

He cautioned the beneficiaries to embrace the training received and put the starter packs given them into effective use to create wealth and to build the country’s economy.

On his part, Sir Joseph Ari, Director-General ITF,  represented by Mr Onajite Ejekukor, Deputy Director, ITF, decried the rate of population growth, particularly the rate of unemployed youths in the country.

He, however, said that the youth may not be entirely disadvantageous, but a demographic dividend of working class people are engaged in productive activities and its potentials fully harnessed.

“Countries like China, South Korea, and Vietnam, among others that were able to take advantage of the youth bulge, did so through huge investment in skills acquisition and a raft of other economic reforms that ensured that the youthful workforce was gainfully engaged.

“But it is not all doom and gloom going by the policies and programmes that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been implementing since 2015 which has empowered organisations, such as ITF to initiate and implement skills acquisition programmes like the NISDP.

“Since inception of NISDP in 2016, it has equipped thousands of Nigerians nationwide with skills for employability and entrepreneurship.

“This phase of programme which the closing ceremony is taking place today, began in the third quarter of 2021.

“The training lasted for three months and in all, at least 3,905 Nigerians were equipped with skills in two trade areas of Catering and Event management, and Plumbing and Pipe Firing,”Ari said.

Ari, while urging beneficiaries to utilise the starter packs and the skills gathered to improve their lives and contribute meaningfully to the growth of Nigeria economy, also called for partnership with state governments and private individuals.

In her address of welcome, Mrs Ugochinyere Onyeka, Area Manager, Warri Area Office, said that ITF has since inception trained and supported no fewer than 5,000 youths of Delta extraction.

According to her,  the programme has since proved to be a vital support to the Federal  Government’s policy objectives on poverty eradication, jobs creation and economic diversification.

“The Agency is today, graduating 100 youths of Delta extraction; 50 in skills of plumbing and pipe fitting and another 50 in catering and events management.”

Responding, representatives of the beneficiaries; Mr Christopher Ashibuogu, of Plumbing and Miss Ruth Irho, of Catering, lauded the Federal Government for the gesture, while pledging their commitment to puting the training and the starter packs to effective use.

NAN reports that all the graduands of the ITF 2021 NISDP skills acquisition programme received their starter packs; Gas Cookers for those in Catering, while the plumbing trainees received plumbing kits. (NAN) (