Director General, Industrial Trust Fund, ITF, Dr Juliet Onaeko has disclosed that the Fund spends about N10 billion annually to train youths in vocational skills.
Disclosing this during the inauguration of the new National Executive of Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria, CICAN, in Lagos state, said such trainings require huge capital, adding that the Act establishing the Fund, stipulates that employers should contribute part of the funds while Federal Government gives subventions to ITF.
Onaeko, also noted that the training is in line with its policy trust to promote and encourage acquisition of skills in industry and commerce while generating a pool of indigenous trained manpower, sufficient enough to meet the economic needs of the country.
According to the ITF boss, about 70 percent of the ITF budget goes into training, adding that such trainings are capital intensive; hence the Fund needs financial supports from the public and private sectors of the nation’s economy.
‘’We are thinking of establishing vocational training centres in all the geographical zones of the country. We are trying and one day, we will get there. Funding is holding us back. Training of manpower is our major trust. We need to build capacity for our nation. Every year, we spend about N10 billion in various training programmes in and outside the country’’, she stated.
Continuing, she noted that ‘’Training reimbursements are part of the returns employers can receive from the Fund. Others include general availability of trained and mobile manpower throughout the economy as well as access to wealth of information and expertise, which the Fund has built over the years.
She also noted that the Fund, which was established in 1971, has been consistently and painstakingly operated within the context of its enabling laws, adding that its objectives have been pursued vigorously and efficaciously.
Over the years, the ITF has expanded its structures, developed training programmes, and reviewed strategies, operations and services in order to meet the changing demands for skilled manpower in the economy.
Specifically, the aim of the programme is to train and equip youths with advanced employable skills in some occupational areas like facility maintenance technology, information and communication technology as well as culinary skills among other areas.
In a related event, the ITF has bag the ‘Best Performing Government Parastatals’ Award for Excellence, 2014’.
The award which was given to the ITF by the Business Education Examination Council (BEEC), was in recognitions of the roles play by the ITF empowering the youths through training and provision of employment.
The President, BEEC, Mazi Mike Okereke commended the Director General of the ITF for the way she has revive and sustain the role of ITF towards the creation of employment to the teeming youths.
He urged the ITF not to relent in its performance, as this will go a long way in reducing poverty in the society.