The Federal Government has inaugurated an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity building programme designed to train graduates in ICT and job-related skills and make them employable.
The initiative is executed through the Science and Technology Education Post-Basic (Step-B) Project under the Federal Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Ministry of Communications Technology and the Outsourcing Development Initiative of Nigeria, a private sector company which trains and connects unemployed graduates with possible employers.
The project is funded by a credit facility of $180m over six years granted to the federal government by the World Bank.
At the inaugural ‘Access Job Fair’ in Lagos, about 1007 graduate employees who had been trained, were matched with prospective employers in various sectors of the economy some of which are aviation, banking, education, engineering, manufacturing, telecommunications and Information Technology.
Speaking at the fair, the National Coordinator of Step B, Ministry of Education, Mr. Michael Adikwu, stated that the initial project, was to ascertain how effective the training had been; how many of the graduates were employed at the end of the fair.
According to him, “there were indications that many of our graduates were not directly employable because they lacked certain skills. The World Bank thus came up with New Economic Skills Programme for Africa (NESPA), to help train these graduates, and make them employable.
“The job seekers were subjected to about 10 weeks of training, and were tested on various skills such as grammar, team work, organisational and administrative skills needed in the workplace. If at the end of the fair, we have a handful of them employed, we now compare them with the group that was not trained, so you will be able to see how effective the training has being.
On his part, the Chairman of the Outsourcing Development Initiative of Nigeria (Odin), Mr. David Oni, said the outsourcing initiative was to help the government in the task of job creation.
He said: “In the last two years or more, job creation is top on the agenda of government, and we decided to take more practical steps towards ensuring job creation, because we felt that it was something we could do in partnership with the government.
“A lot of our youths today are unemployed. It is not something that can be left to the government alone. It is a huge task, the public and private sectors have come together to create jobs. Both sides have learnt to support in so many ways.”
“Creating a meeting point for employers and prospective employees is the best because the employers can tell the candidates what they were looking for. I hope that this Job fair we started is the first of many to come,” he said.
A Senior Education Specialist from the World Bank, Mr. Tunde Adekola, said the initiative was part of the bank’s effort to support government to reduce unemployment in Nigeria.