The Ebonyi State Government has entered into negotiations with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), with a view to equipping indigenes of the State, particularly the youth, with technical skills for them to favourably compete in the labour market.
The ITF Head, Publications and Media, Dr. Felix Otuwarikpo, stated this in a press statement made available to our correspondent in Jos, on arrival from Ebonyi State
According to Otuwarikpo, the Ebonyi State Government is worried by the growing number of its indigenes engaged in street hawking around urban centers across the country, especially the youths and have decided to partner with ITF with the view to equipping its citizen with skill that will make them better citizens of this country.
Addressing an ITF delegation that was in Abakiliki to fashion out details of such partnership, the Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Professor Bernard Ifeanyi Odoh said that it was this need that informed the State Executive Council last year to approve a skills programme tagged “Street to Skills”, which is targeted at equipping street traders from the State with new skills set.
In his words: “We started a programme last year, which was approved by the Executive Council of the State. If you have gone around Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Onitsha, a lot of young people are engaged in street hawking. Unfortunately for Ebonyians, majority of these people engaged in this street hawking are from Ebonyi State.
“So we became worried that no matter the progress we make as a people; if we do not withdraw these young men and women and give them skills, they will erode whatever progress we make in governance”, he added.
Professor Odoh stated that the expectation of the State Government was for the proposed collaboration to yield tangible results within 12 to 18 months by taking these youths off the street by equipping them with skills to earn a living noting that the State was prepared to extend start-up capital to beneficiaries of such skills training.
Director of Technical Vocational Skills Training Department, Engr. Mike Afadi who led the ITF delegation, in his response, said the ITF viewed the invitation from the State Government as a clarion call and in tandem with the organization’s mandate of giving Nigerians relevant skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
Engr. Afadi disclosed that the ITF was currently implementing the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) that trains 1000 Nigerians in each State of the Federation and the FCT noting that the only way to combat youth restiveness was to equip Nigerians with skills for employment or to enable them start their businesses.
He commended the State for initiating the collaboration and expressed the preparedness of the ITF to meet the objectives and desires of the State.
He disclosed that the ITF has entered into a similar collaboration with the Lagos State Government for training of the youth in the State.