In the face of the unemployment situation in the country, Nigeria can be a net exporter of skills to the West African Sub-region by training youths to fill local and regional middle level manpower gaps.
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed made this known during a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of University of Wolverhampton, as part of his official visit to the United Kingdom.
Ahmed maintained that if proper structures for the training of Nigerian youths in market-relevant vocational skills are put in place, the country will not only meet local needs for critical vocational skills but will become a net exporter of skills to the sub-region.
Having realised that formal educational institutions have been unable to fill the skills gap in the country and the sub-region, Kwara State according to the governor is showing the way through the establishment of the International Vocational, Technical and Entrepreneurship Centre, (IVTEC) Ajase Ipo, whose curriculum was developed with the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).
He added that the state is also supporting the drive through the establishment of the nationally-acclaimed Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises Scheme (MSME) under which more than N2b has been disbursed to business owners through cooperatives.
IVTEC, according to him, will train youths in critical skill areas identified in partnership with NECA and prepare students for City and Guilds of London certification which will make such graduates employable locally, nationally and internationally.
Ahmed, therefore, solicited the partnership of the University of Wolverhampton, which he said has a long history of providing vocational and skills training on a regional basis, in the development of IVTEC and the state’s Internal Revenue Service, (KWIRS) whose management had just completed an executive course at the University’s Business School. Responding, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Geoff Layer, said given the Wolverhampton’s role in Europe’s industrial revolution and the university’s history of promoting entrepreneurship, it stands ready to support the state government’s drive for entrepreneurship, manufacturing, vocational skills and education.
Prof. Layer acknowledged Governor Ahmed’s quest to change the way Kwara is governed and funded through IGR reforms and manpower training, stressing that like any change process, the quest may be difficult but should be sustained in the interest of the state and its future, especially the youths.
Governor Ahmed and Prof. Layer thereafter signed a letter of intent for partnership between the University of Wolverhampton and the Kwara State Government on behalf of IVTEC, Ajase-Ipo.
Ahmed later met the Vice Chancellor of the University, Dr. Anthea Gregory and was hosted to a reception by the Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton, Councilor Elias Mattu.