The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has stressed the need for the Federal Government to invest in skills acquisition as a veritable alternative to white-collar jobs.

ITF Director-General, Joseph Ari, who made this call yesterday in Abuja while addressing a press conference, said countries like Germany, Switzerland, Malaysia, Brazil and China stand out in their effective utilisation of skills acquisition model to bring the problem of unemployment and poverty to manageable levels.

Lamenting that Nigeria has one of the fastest growing populations, Ari regretted that the problems of unemployment and poverty have assumed the form of rising criminality and other social vices that are witnessed across the country.

According to the ITF boss, unlike other countries, several surveys have revealed that rather than the absence of jobs, the country has more to do with the absence of technical skills, coupled with skills mismatch that has led to a situation that even where vacancies exist, there are arguably no qualified Nigerians to fill them.

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He argued that most economies across the globe both developed and developing have had to contend with the problems of unemployment and poverty, which he said have been attributed to several factors including the youth bulge and lack of corresponding economic development.

Ari disclosed that the ITF and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) have given birth to a Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP), which is a joint initiative of the two agencies to tame the menace of youth unemployment and poverty in Nigeria.

According to the ITF Chief Executive, the overarching objective of the initiative is to promote the availability of manpower with appropriate technical and vocational skills to meet the identified needs of industries and the country, while also seeking to provide employable and entrepreneurship skills to youths to address skills needed in the country.

Ari said the scheme will also promote Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through strategic intervention in Technical Colleges, and set standards and monitor adherence in the implementation of the Project.

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