According to reports by Labour Force of the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate (15-34 years) remains the highest in the country at 21.72 million. Lack of functional skills has been attributed to the rising unemployability.
Considering these reports, analysts say it’s necessary for Nigeria to improve the living conditions of its young unemployed labour force by equipping its workforce with hands-on capacity learning as this can be a deciding component of its socioeconomic status.
Therefore, the government, through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated that the present administration would do everything to transform youth lives.
The minister said, “Federal Government is economically advancing the living standard of these young unemployed Nigerians by empowering them to become tomorrow’s employers of labour in Nigeria and the World at large.”
With this commitment, Farouq disclosed that the Ministry has received approval at a Federal Executive Council meeting to train 50,000 non-graduate N-Power beneficiaries across the country by enhancing their employability, entrepreneurial and technical skills.
Aimed at boosting the local economy, the capacity building program is geared to produce certified technicians, artisans and service professionals in automobile, agric. tech, carpentry & joinery, electrical installation, masonry & tiling, plumbing and pipefitting
Others are hospitality comprising; baking and confectionery; cooking and catering; house-keeping and mixology.
In fact, she recently graduated over 40,000 beneficiaries of N-Build N-Power who participated in the 3 months training in Federation Construction Industry, FOCI, Abuja.
She said “It is worthy to note that what is happening in FOCI Skills Training Centre here in Abuja today, is also taking place in 693 Training Centres, across the six geo-political zones in the country, where 40,000 Trainees in the Batch C1 of the N-Build Programme have been trained.
Additionally, “This N-Build is under the N-Power cluster of programmes managed by NSIP and it targets unemployed non-graduates.
“It is a continuation of N-Build training that started in 2017, with every batch of N-power trainees.
“The N-Build apprenticeship programme will be coordinated across the 36 states and FCT and centres in almost 350 Local Government Areas.”
Providing clarity on the stages of training before the non-graduate beneficiaries become blue collar professionals, she explained the 9months program is divided into theory and practical’s with agencies that will provide certification and technical qualifications to ensure evidence of skills and competence.
The minister said, “The training programme comprises three months of in-centre class training, six months for apprenticeship, post apprenticeship, mentorship with provision of starter packs and assessment leading to the award of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) certification
“The National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism will provide professional and technical skills upgrade training programmes for the beneficiaries in Baking, Cooking/Catering, House- keeping and Mixology as well as all areas of Hospitality and Tourism directly and indirectly connected to it,
“While the ITF will train beneficiaries in Electrical, Masonry, Plumbing and Carpentry.Training services in Automobile and Agritech Tracks will be handled by NITT, while HEDI will empower beneficiaries in Welding and Fabrication, Electrical Fittings and Plumbing.”
“During this six-month attachment period, your performance will be assessed and examined by:
Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) and Institute of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) respectively.”
While explaining funding of NSIP by the Buhari led-administration across social intervention programmes every year, she urged the beneficiaries to seize opportunity and become authorities in their vocational skills as what they learn in this period will continue to remain relevant always.
The minister said, “NSIP is one of the largest social protection programmes in Africa with about $1billion invested annually to improve the lives of the poor and most vulnerable in the country.
“As this batch C1 of N-Build trainees are graduating to commence their apprenticeship, in line with Mr. President’s Commitment to creating more jobs and wealth creation opportunities for the teeming youths, in the next few weeks, the batch C2 of the N-Power programme will be deployed to their various places of primary assignments and training centres respectively, which are all directed to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.”
“To the graduating trainees here and other respective training centres across the country who will be starting their apprenticeship, I enjoin you all to take the advantage that this program has presented to you with all seriousness, maintain cordial relationship with your instructors, be of good attitude, good character, diligent and see how you will excel in your respective trades.
“The trades that you were trained in the last three months will remain necessary skills for today and tomorrow in any global economy.
“The ministry, NSIP and N-Power team and other relevant councils have worked assiduously to ensure that what we are witnessing here today, is a reality and will help in bridging the gap in demand for standard and market relevant skills.
The event is a clear demonstration of commitment to collectively address youth unemployment in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s deliberate efforts to empower Nigerian youths and to reduce poverty in Nigeria,” Farouq said.
Continuing she said “since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration in 2015, the Federal Government has sustained its efforts to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are included in all social programmes aimed at reducing poverty which informed the decision to initiate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) in 2016, under the Office of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.”
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo also said it is important to understand that Mr. President’s intention is to sustain the fight against poverty by targeting people who are graduate and non-graduates who can acquire technical skills so that they can establish their own businesses, empower themselves and others, thereby setting themselves free from poverty.
The DG FOCI, Engr. Olubumi Adekoje, appreciated the Federal Government gesture for the program.
Adekoje said FOCI trainers are one of the best in the world as they are expatriates and pledges to partner with N-Power, encouraging participants especially the women whose turnout was massive to make good use of the skills they have acquired.
On his part, DG Industrial Training Funds ITF, Mr. Joseph Ari, represented by Lami Dakwa, the Training Manager, expressed her gratitude to the Ministry and the Federal Government’s effort to help to build, develop and equip Nigeria youths, adding that all hands will be on deck to monitor the progress of the beneficiaries who out of millions are empowered economically.
Similarly, a beneficiary under the cooking and catering group, Hajara Musa, expressed hope that the training will elevate her status to a business owner and she will be able to train younger ones in school.
She said “I’m so excited to be a participant in this training. I couldn’t complete my secondary education when my father died, my mother could not send me to school as she is a housewife.
“I will use this opportunity provided to me to start a business selling food in my area. Someday it will mature and help my younger ones. I appreciate the organizers.”
The creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, FMHADMSD, in 2019, has been pioneered by the minister to oversee the numerous intervention Programmes.
The NSIP has Four clusters spearheading the programmes: 1. The National Home- Grown School Feeding Programme NHGSFP; N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, among others.
To this end, these are aimed at ensuring that Nigerians are lifted from poverty. N-Power is one of the key programmes that have impacted positively on the lives of vulnerable youths in Nigeria, including persons with disability and forcibly displaced persons (internally displaced persons and returnees).
The programme has three core segments, which include: 1. N-Power Volunteer Corps (for graduates); N-Power Build (for non-graduates) and, N-Power Knowledge – which is also a non-graduate programme for ICT-inclined Nigerians and this embodies the N-Tech Hardware, N-Tech Software and the N-Creative training programme.