By Felix Khanoba
The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) says plans are underway to partner with investors on local assembly of smartphones in the country.
Director General of the Fund, Sir Joseph Ari, made this known during the graduation ceremony of ITF/Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) vocational skills training programme on Monday in Abuja.
He expressed delight that the trainees were able to assemble the first indigenous Global System for Mobile (GSM) smartphone in the country, a move that has prompted the need for collaboration with investors to ramp up production.
His words: “I am thrilled to inform you that from this training, our trainees were able to assemble the first indigenous GSM smartphone. As at today, plans are under way to seek collaborations from investors to partner with the ITF to boost this innovation.”
Speaking further on the training programme, the ITF boss said it all began in late 2019 after a visit by the Management of NCDMB to the Fund’s Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC), Abuja.
“The delegation, which was impressed by the quality of equipment at the Centre, opened negotiations with the ITF for the empowerment of 255 unemployed youths with technical vocational skills. Although the 6–month programme was billed to commence in early 2020, it did not start until August 2020 as a result of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“In order for the trainees to acquire professional certification, the MSTC implemented the programme in collaboration with three professional bodies namely; the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen – COREN and CISCO Academy, who equipped them with skills in Industrial Automation and Mechatronics, Instrumentation and Process Control, I.T Essentials/ Comp-TIA A+, Mobile Phone troubleshooting and repairs, Electrical Electronics Technology, Building Technology, Residential Air conditioning, Mechanical Services and, Catering and event Management.
“We have no doubt that given the hands-on nature of the 6-month training, which was comprised of 3-months intensive training at the MSTC and 3-month practical attachment, the graduands will no doubt contribute immensely to the development of the national economy,” he said.
Sir Ari, who commended Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, for gracing the graduation ceremony, lauded NCDMB for the collaboration and sponsorship of the trainees.
He called on other stakeholders to partner the ITF to conduct similar programmes to empower the nation’s youth population with requisite skills.
“Our commitment to skills acquisition is premised on the fact that it remains the most viable and sustainable solution to combating the rising unemployment and poverty that have continued to defy our best efforts as governments and non-governmental actors.
“It is for this reason, that the MSTC runs modular courses of between one, three and six months for more Nigerians to acquire a skill for employability and entrepreneurship. It is also for the same reason that the Centre conducts graduate upskilling programmes for those desirous of upgrading their skills or learning a new occupational trade.
“In addition, in recognition of the fact that when you catch the young ones early enough, the attraction to hands-on skills persists all through their lives, the Centre has introduced Summer Boot Camp for children between the ages 10-15 and gives them hands-on training in the following areas: Nigeria Cuisine, Pastry, Hygiene and Safety, Mobile Robot Technology, Electronic Circuit Design & Troubleshooting Technology, Programmable Logic Circuit, Computer Hardware, Computer Appreciation, Networking Fundamentals, and Web design.
“Going forward, the objective of the Centre is to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible are equipped with the skills for entrepreneurship and employability in order to avert the attendant effects of poverty and unemployment that have manifested themselves in our dear country in the form of rising criminality including kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism and many other antisocial behaviours.
We, however, believe that for this to happen, all Nigerians across the various strata of society should heed our clarion call for synergy with the ITF,” Ari added.