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You lack skills for labour market, FG tells unemployed graduates

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

THE Federal Government says millions of graduates in the country are unemployed because they do not have specific skills required for the job market.

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The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono, who said this, yesterday, in Abuja, at a two-day National Conference on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), explained that the development “has created a shortfall of the adequately skilled educated workforce which is one of the major constraints to the growth and development of our nation.”

The conference was organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Skills Development for Youth Employment, SKYE programme, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and implemented by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

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“Most of the graduates produced in various universities of technology, polytechnics, colleges of education (Technical) and technical colleges nationwide do not have specific skills required for the job market (market-relevant skills). The situation results to having millions of Nigerian graduates that are unemployed,” he said.

Speaking at the event aimed at repositioning the technical and vocational education and training through policy and legislative options in Nigeria, Echono explained that given the situation, the present administration’s emphasis is majored on Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and skill acquisition, adding that, it was “born out of the recognition that TVET is the bedrock of socio-economic growth and development of any nation.”

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“Government at all level has been making frantic efforts to equip the youths by establishing technical colleges, polytechnics, mono-technics, Vocational Enterprise Institutions (VEIs) and Innovation Enterprise Institutions (IEIs) and Model Skills Training Centers (MSTC) for equipping youths/learners with technical and vocational skills through formal and non-formal channels across the states of the federation,” he said.

Speaking further at the conference, tagged: “Repositioning Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through Policy and Legislative Options” for National Development”, the Permanent Secretary explained that the “main focus of this conference is to develop synergy among the stakeholders of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Nigeria through policy and legislative options which will serve as a foundation for (TVET) development, coordination and effective implementation in Nigeria.

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“There is no doubt that there is an epic gap between the skilled manpower required and that which is currently available,” he said.

According to him, “This initiative is highly welcomed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as it will further enhance the achievement of this Administration’s ‘Change mantra’ through an effective manpower development with a viable skill acquisition programme specifically in areas of technology, and other aspects of resourcefulness to enhance national development; hence the establishment of Skill Training Centers (STCs) especially now that government is making comprehensive efforts in youths skill capacity building through investment in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).”

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He commended the efforts and support of GIZ in bringing together all the stakeholders of TVET as think tanks in repositioning TVET through policy and legislative options adding that, “we sincerely hope that this will create a window opportunity for public and private establishments to further support and promote the development of TVET.”

Speaking at the event, Head of Programme, Skills Development for Youth Employment, SKYE, Hans Ludwig Bruns, said it was the right time for all relevant stakeholders within the TVET sector to jointly work on the TVET reform process, adding, “This is needed to provide better vocational education for the young people in Nigeria.

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“Nigeria is currently facing tremendous challenges in terms of sustainable job creation and productivity. The high numbers of unemployment and underemployment have become major socio-economic challenges over the past decade.

“It is connected to the issue of skills development, which is interlinked to the challenges of adjusting TVET policies, regulations, and implementation. It cannot be overemphasised that high quality and relevant vocational education and training is a prerequisite for economic development. The topic is a high priority in the reform agenda in many countries and Nigeria is not an exception.

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“It is worthy to note that the Government of Nigeria has taken important steps forward in establishing the National Skills Council under the chairmanship of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the objective to develop skills for the nation through TVET. However, challenges are still remaining-Public education providers need to make education and training more relevant to the demand of the private sector.

“The momentum of reform to achieve good results is now and will need rapid steps to provide quality vocational education to the high number of young people who are already or will be joining vocational education and training in the coming years,” he said.

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