The World Bank’s senior education specialist in Nigeria, Mr. Tunde Adekola, says the bank has committed $200 million to the advancement of technical and vocational education in the country.
Adekola made the declaration on Monday in Abuja at the launch of the framework for the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) organised by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in partnership with a private company.
He said the fund was for a World Bank-assisted education project called Innovative Development for Effectiveness and Skills Acquisition in Nigeria.
He said it was part of the support given to the Nigerian government to turn technical and vocational education around.
According to him, it is a Federal Government project aimed at supporting three technical colleges in each of the six geopolitical zones to become Centres of Excellence.
He said Edo was chosen for the South-South, Benue for North Central, Kano State for the Northwest, Gombe State for the Northeast, Ekiti for the Southwest, and Abia for the Southeast.
The specialist said that the funds would cover four thematic areas.
“It is a four-year project and we are into the second year already,’’ he said.
Adekola said technical and vocational were the ways to go in solving the skills gap in Nigeria.
On the launch of the framework, he said there was a need for state actors and non-state actors to collaborate in institutionalising apprenticeship in Nigeria.
He said Nigeria was blessed with human resources, adding that what was required was an innovation on how to turn such strength into wealth creation.
Adekola said it was important for ITF and other stakeholders to prioritise digital literacy and equitable representation of women and people living with disabilities in their plans.
In his remarks, the Director-General of ITF, Mr. Joseph Ari, said the launch was part of efforts to deploy skills acquisition to combat unemployment and poverty while ensuring overall growth.
He said the framework, which was a policy document, focused on the adoption and institutionalisation of NATS.
“The pathway to this current policy of NATS came about on account of a robust trajectory of vision formulation.
“At the inception of the current management of ITF in 2016, the Reviewed Vision for Mandate Actualisation was put in place.
“By the middle of 2022, the ITF, leveraging on new training trends, realised the need to refocus its operations along indices that will escalate job and wealth creation.
“We had synergies and experience with Germany on its Dual System, Crown Agents of the UK, Senai of Brazil, and GIMI of Israel.
“All of them emphasised apprenticeship, so it became imperative to develop a new vision along that pathway.
“The Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella body of the Organised Private Sector, and the Skills for Prosperity, UK became readily available.
“In this regard, issues like inauguration and sensitisation of stakeholders, development of the framework, and validation were successfully concluded.
“Today is the fruition of this laudable process, which is aimed at adding value to the Federal Government’s job and wealth creation efforts.
Ari said when implemented, the framework had the potential to drastically reduce unemployment while affording youths the opportunity to earn income while learning.
He added that the framework would enhance eligibility for financial assistance while in training and ensure a structured approach to skills acquisition and certification.
According to him, this will lead to an increase in the number of Medium and Small Scale Enterprises.
The director-general also said the framework would tackle underemployment, social vices, and crime rate and improve the quality of services offered by technicians and craftsmen.
He said the fund was partnering with various stakeholders on other projects that would help it deliver on its mandate.
Ms. Sybil Ferris, Team Lead of the private company, the technical partner for the drafting of the framework, said Lagos and Kaduna states were used as pilots.
She said pieces training and skills acquisition programmes were conducted in the two states and some of the trainees were offered jobs among other incentives.
Lagos and Kaduna State governments pledged their support in institutionalising apprenticeship.
Meanwhile, the British High Commission, NECA, and other stakeholders, in their goodwill messages, lauded the effort by ITF to standardise apprenticeship.
The highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the 129-page framework.