Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige (2ndright) with beneficiaries of South East Zonal Skill Training Programme
By Ignatius Ushie
The Federal Government has commenced the training of youths and unemployed in the South-East zone, in various Skills as an alternative to white-collar jobs.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, while flagging off the training in Owerri, Imo State capital, noted that Skills education would equip them with self-employment and self-reliant skills that would serve them for life.
He further stated that the training would boost the socio-economic status of the youths.
“This is one of the ways that government wants to remove youths from poverty, and social discontent, and give them a new lease of life.”
Ngige explained that with the skills acquired, the beneficiaries would not only be self-employed, but would also generate employment for others, as well as spread the knowledge through training others.
The Minister said that once the training, which is a nationwide skill development programme targeting the youth, has been done in all the zones, it would be also carried out in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He disclosed that Government was considering including Skills Education in the nation’s education curricular.
He noted that the acquisition of certain skills would boost the chances of Nigerians at jobs that other nationals were currently monopolising in the country.
Ngige stated that at the end of the training, Government would empower the participants with the necessary kits for the various skills they trained in.
The Minister said the trainees would be graded by points and would progress from Stages One to Four, where they would be issued with the Trade Test Certificate, which is also graded Three (3), Two (2), and One (1), which is the highest.
He said that the Trade Test Certificate 1 (one) qualified the holder to work in other countries as resident aliens, and be exported by the Federal Government through regular channels.
“This is the beginning. We will organise many more, and as we organise them, we will be giving you points and grading you through stages 1 to 4, where you get your certificate.”
He noted that government would in time enlarge the current curricular of the programme to other areas such as processing of agricultural produce, which would not only create food security, but would also produce various other consumables.
The Minister remarked that the Skill Acquisition training programme, which is a specialised training, had been going on concurrently with the regular training by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), government’s employment agency.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to be serious with the training itself, which purpose is to make them self-reliant and self-employed.
“The main thing you gain from us is the knowledge, and that you’re being trained to fish for yourself.” “You are the capacity. The horizon is yours,” he said.
Ngige noted that degree holders could also acquire the Skills Certificate in addition, as it would place them on a higher pedestal, adding that one could combine a white collar job with a blue collar one.
He also pointed out that skill certificate was edging paper certificate out of importance.
“This is a golden opportunity for you to add to the paper certificate you already have.”