By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State said over 5, 000 youths in the State have benefited from the Industrial Training Fund’s (ITF’s) skills and empowerment programmes, since the present administration came into office.
He also said the ITF beyond the aforementioned has contributed immensely towards the upliftment of its immediate community and the educational sector in the state, through its corporate social responsibility programmes.
Lalong disclosed this at the commissioning ceremony of ITF’s modern library complex, central store and classroom block at its staff school, in Jos, the State Capital.
He said, “The commissioning of these projects today is yet another display of the magnanimity of the ITF to the people of Plateau State, which we deeply appreciate.
“We have room for more interventions. Just let us know where you want to site any project and we shall give you the access.
The Governor added that as a government it was changing the orientation of the citizenry, including civil servants, to turn away from relying on salary and government jobs in order to avoid “heartache and disappointment”, especially when they retire and cannot fend for themselves again.
Lalong assured the ITF that the state government’s doors are always open for any further collaboration, adding that when the youths are empowered with skills, then unemployment and and insecurity will be addressed.
“I wish to call on other state governments, the organised private sector, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, and well-meaning Nigerians to collaborate with the ITF in the efforts at tackling unemployment and poverty in our nation”, he stressed.
In address, the Minister Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, said, “As a learning and development institution, the need for modern library services cannot be overemphasised.
“As the saying goes ‘knowledge is power’, the library, I believe will enhance the staff and the Fund to effectively carryout the mandate of equipping Nigerians with requisite skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
“I also wish to assure that the Federal Government will continue to put in place policies that will ensure that organisations like ITF whose activities have direct impact on the life of Nigerians thrive”, Adebayo maintained.
Earlier in his welcome address, Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, said, “As the leading human resource development institution in Nigeria, we are determined to take our place at the forefront of the fight against the twin evils of poverty and unemployment.
“To achieve this onerous objective, it became imperative that ITF must put in place the necessary infrastructure to carry out this enormous task effectively.
“It was against this backdrop and the urgent need to support the achievements of the Federal Government that the current leadership in the Industrial Training Fund in 2016, unveiled an ambitious plan tagged: The ITF Reviewed Vision; Strategies for Mandate Actualisation, adding that, “The key objective of the plan were to accelerate the impartation of technical skills to Nigerians for job creation and poverty reduction, and the expansion and modernisation of our infrastructure for more Nigerians to access our services and to enhance our capacity to train Nigerians in relevant contemporary skills.
“Today’s ceremony is a further confirmation of our commitment to full implementation of the plan as we strive to achieve the developmental policies of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he maintained.
He said that the modern library complex will accommodate e-learnig facilities for engineering, Arts and humanities, social sciences, periodicals and dailies, among others.
He added that the library complex will house a 250 computer base test capacity, and office accommodation for staff.
On the Central Store, the Director General said, for over a decade, it has suffered several setbacks from abandonment and fire outbreak.
“However, in view of its strategic importance to successful operations of the Fund, management was determined to complete the project, which consists of the main building, office accommodation, storage facility, Marshal bay and a modern parking lot.
Speaking on the block of 16 classrooms, Ari said, “The 16 block classrooms we will be commissioning at the ITF staff school is a testament to the Fund’s resolve to ensure our children are equipped with knowledge and skills for development at a tender age.
“These projects will collectively among other things, build a seamless organisation, which is people centred and technology driven, motivating the workforce towards self-development, career growth and job satisfaction and also address service delivery challenges as the Fund will provide cutting-edge services to the doorsteps of Nigerians across the country,” he assured.