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Vocational training, apprenticeship will solve Nigeria’s youth unemployment challenge, says VP Osinbajo at launch of N-Power Build

REVIVING APPRENTICESHIP CULTURE IN NIGERIA: VOCATIONAL TRAINING, APPRENTICESHIP WILL SOLVE NIGERIA’S YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CHALLENGE, SAYS VP OSINBAJO AT LAUNCH OF N-POWER BUILD

*Adds: “We can deal with the unemployment challenge if we are able to meet the skills requirements of our industries”

“It is my firm belief that reviving our apprenticeship culture forms a key part of the solution to the issues of skill shortages and youth unemployment.

“We must seek to put learning back into apprenticeships, allow the employers to lead the way through the various sector skill councils and together work towards a common goal of skilling our teeming youths with relevant and appropriate skill competencies for the enormous infrastructure projects we have embarked upon.

“We must also be deliberate and push beyond skills training alone, towards re-igniting the apprenticeship culture.” – Vice President

Below is the full text of the Vice President’s Speech:

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FORMAL LAUNCH OF N-POWER BUILD IN ENUGU STATE, ON FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018.

PROTOCOL

It is always a great joy to be here in Enugu State. The first reason for this is that, I just love Enugu State. Every time we come here, even when we are merely passing through, we are given such a warm, friendly and loving welcome.

The second is; it is always good to see my brother, the Governor of this great state – the Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Gburugburu of Africa, whose personal warmth and friendship I greatly value.

Today we are here for an occasion of monumental importance – the formal launch the N-Power Build, our Vocational and Apprenticeship programme. The subtext of this launch is perhaps more important than the launch itself because we are establishing a major strategy for creating highly skilled technical personnel in Nigeria and creating thousands of technical jobs.

That it is taking place on the premises of ANAMMCO, a private automobile company with a great history behind it, signifies our commitment as Federal Government to revitalize the Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) system, emphasizing also the collaboration between government’s training policy and the private sector users of the trainees and this is very important to us.

N-Power, as we know, is the job creation initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria under its National Social Investment Programme (NSIP). It is designed to help young Nigerians, both Graduate and Non-Graduate alike, to acquire and develop life-long skills to become solution providers in their communities, and to improve their employability and entrepreneurial skills.

The N-Power Build, which is a programme that we are launching today, is a sub-component of N-Power. It is an accelerated Vocational Training, Certification and Apprenticeship programme that will engage and train 75,000 young unemployed Nigerians between the ages of 18-35 years. The plan is to build a new crop of a skilled and highly competent workforce of technicians, artisans and service professionals in various industries.

The uniqueness of our training model is that we don’t just do a skills training. We work with the companies and organizations that need these types of technicians. So, we train to meet their needs and they also give the trainees practical working experience through an apprenticeship programme in their companies. Beginning with the construction industry, we are building highly competent technicians in electricals, plumbing, welding, carpentry, masonry and painting.

In the automobile industry, we are training automobile technicians. The training is intensive. It is a full 1-year programme, comprising accelerated 3-months in-centre training, after which they will qualify for a 9-month apprenticeship placement at participating employer-companies.

This is to give the trainee practical experience. The trainee is then usually employed by such companies. Alternatively, where the trainees do not themselves wish to be employed by the company, the trainees may come together to form an agency enterprise network of competent and certified service professionals offering their services as sub-contractors to the automobile, construction and the general built environment extended value chain.

Each beneficiary under the N-Power Build programme is given a complete toolbox relevant to their specialty trade discipline which is used for their training. They own the kit and at the completion of the in-centre training, they go with it and use them for their businesses.

Working with the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) and the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), which are the sector skills councils approved by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) under the supervision of the Job Creation Implementation Committee chaired by the Hon Minister of Labour & Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, the N-Power team developed and published customized relevant training manuals in alignment with recently updated National Occupational Standards for both Industries. The two councils also developed a Master Trainers “Train the Trainer” (Refresher Course) programme which was deployed across the country to all participating training centres.

In order to quickly ramp up this crucial training of technical personnel, we have approved about 250 Standard Training Centres across Nigeria, including ANAMMCO here in Enugu, and the Multi-Skill Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Obingwa-Aba, Abia State.

These training providers partner with the Federal Government’s N-Power programme to train a total of 20,000 Nigerian Youths under our 2017 Budget appropriation, and training commenced on March 1, 2018, across the country.

The Federal Government invested N1.4 billion to acquire the required toolkit and training consumables which have been distributed to participating training centres across the country.

While in training each trainee will be paid a monthly stipend for a period of one year. Our total investment per trainee aside from stipends is N230,000; this is the training cost per head.

As a nation, we must also be deliberate and push beyond skills training alone, towards re-igniting the apprenticeship culture. Apprenticeship is the fastest and most efficient means of training to the highest levels of our technicians to the best competence available. There is nothing like the practical application of training for building the confidence and skills required for the technical trade disciplines.

Today, Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate at about 25% for a youthful population as ours is particularly worrisome and only last Monday, I chaired an expanded Economic Management Team (EMT) meeting looking at tackling this multi-hydra challenge of youth unemployment.

But we can deal with the unemployment challenge if we are able to meet the skills requirements of our industries. They have often complained loudly about inappropriate skilling and low practical competency of our young workforce. So, it is not usually that there are no jobs; the problem often is that many of our industries cannot find people with the right skills. So, it is my firm belief that reviving our apprenticeship culture forms a key part of the solution to the issues of skill shortages and youth unemployment.

We must seek to put learning back into apprenticeships, allow the employers (who are the ultimate users of our education and training system outputs) to lead the way through the various sector skill councils and together work towards a common goal of skilling our teeming youths with relevant and appropriate skill competencies for the enormous infrastructure projects we have embarked upon.

I believe we have a great opportunity today to create well-paying jobs for technically competent young men and women because we are investing heavily in capital projects. We are currently rehabilitating, expanding and modernizing major highways such as:

Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road,
The 2nd Niger Bridge,
The Enugu-Port Harcourt road,
The East-West road,
The Sagamu-Ore-Benin road,
Kano-Maiduguri road,
Abuja-Lafia-Akwanga-Keffi road, and
Lagos-Abeokuta old road.

We are also investing heavily in rail lines across the country – the Lagos-Kano, Lagos-Port Harcourt routes; investing in coaches and ancillary infrastructure; power and social housing. All of these investments require skilled workforce not just during construction but for continued repair and maintenance.

Recently, the President issued Executive Order 005, which mandates that where we have the local technical expertise, Nigerian technicians must be engaged to do the jobs. Foreigners must not be employed to do those jobs.

This is an issue that the President insists is fundamental to ensuring that Nigerian technicians have jobs. I would therefore like to call on established automobile and construction companies and organisations in Nigeria, such as Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company of Nigeria, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited, Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, the Federation of Construction Industries (FOCI) and others, to join hands with the Federal Government to promote the culture of apprenticeship by assisting in training more beneficiaries.

We would also be investing directly in another 14,000 of our youths in skills and competencies for technology hardware repair and maintenance, software coding and creative graphics and animation through the N-Power Knowledge component.

Ensuring that our young people have excellent well-paying jobs is a priority for our government. We have set this task for ourselves and the time to do so is now.

As I close, let me thank very much, first, the Governor of Enugu State, for hosting this very important programme, and secondly, ANAMCO, for the very great cooperation that we have seen and the great collaboration. We certainly intend to collaborate with you further to train more of our young people. And special thanks also goes to Senator Chris Ngige for the leadership that he has provided to the entire N-Power Programme; and, of course, to all of the members of the N-Power team, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Mr. Afolabi Umoukheude, the entire team.

I believe that the best time for our country is here. The future of our country is bright; day by day, step by step, we are going in the right direction – making the right investments, especially in our young people. Our country is getting better and better every day, and we will all enjoy the goodness of this land in Jesus name.

Thank you very much and God bless you.

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
18th May, 2018

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