Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje has said that the board together with polytechnics would role out different vocational skills training to address youth unemployment in Nigeria.
He spoke on Thursday at a conference in Kaduna, to commemorate the 2021 World Youth Skills Day, with the theme, “Reimaging Youth Skills Post-Pandemic” selected to assess the situation of young people regarding skills and work during and after COVID – 19 Pandemic.
Bugaje who linked the protracted insecurity in the country to the high level of unemployment among youths said that the solution was empowering youths with vocational skills for decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
“The different vocational skills training would be introduced by the polytechnics based on the available industries in the area the schools were located. The board is equally working with the polytechnics to engage the informal sector providing skills training such that the trainees would be certified in line with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF),” he said.
“The NSQF is a system for the development, classification and recognition of skills, knowledge and competence acquired by individuals, irrespective of where and how the training or skill is acquired.”
“Kaduna Polytechnic has already brought the Old Panteka Skills Market, Kaduna, into its NSQF training programme and we are encouraging other polytechnics to do the same.”
“This will formalise and certify the informal training being provided all over the country,” he said.
Bugaje, therefore, called on the state governments to revive the technical colleges across the country that were abandoned three to four decades ago due to a lack of trained teachers and equipment.
He said the colleges have the potential of producing the skills manpower needed for infrastructural development that will revive the economy.
“The technical colleges if revived, will not only empower Nigerian youths with skills, but the youths would be certified under the globally accepted NSQF.”
“We are, therefore, calling on all relevant stakeholders, the federal and state governments, the private sector and development partners to come together and find a lasting solution to youth unemployment and insecurity, through vocational skills.”
“The federal government and the private sector are executing a lot of infrastructural projects across the country, but sadly these interventions are being implemented with foreign skill labour at the expense of the Nigerian youths because they lack the requisite skills.”
“There is the need, therefore, for government and the private sector to work towards pushing the skills agenda to provide the youths with functional vocational skills, otherwise, the end to insecurity may not be in sight,” he said.