NDE, private sector partner on skills acquisition
THE National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and Carrier Intelligence are collaborating to standardize the skills acquisition training in Nigeria.
Director-General of the agency, Mohammed Abubakar, speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the agency and Carrier Intelligence in Abuja, said paucity of funds and demand for higher quality of jobs are other factors that made the collaboration apt and inevitable.
His words: “The decision of the NDE to embark on this collaboration with the private sector is influenced by the current financial realities the country is in. it is common knowledge that funding from government has seriously decreased for various understandable reasons. In any case, I believe it is the responsibility of every agencies of government to continuously engage in on how to do things differently for optimum output.”
Abubakar stated that the NDE has found a new way of imparting knowledge going by the mode of training that will be adopted by Carrier Intelligence.
“The NDE has been in the business of imparting skills on our trainees over the past 27 years. We have now found that we can improve even more when we involve the private sector in our operations. When the NDE began, we were using the informal sector, together with our in-house capacity; we believe that with the changing patterns of higher demands, we needed to change our approach in line with the new market demands. Now, Nigerians demand higher professional artisans that can deliver higher quality of work, which the private sector can engender. The NDE believes that the private sector has the capacity to bring this higher quality to being. The Carrier Intelligence has shown that they have the capacity to do what we were doing more efficiently and we recognized this. We never said we were the best but when we see superior way of doing things, we embrace it,” the NDE helmsman said.
Abubakar stressed that the collaboration comes at the point when the Bwari training centre was rotting away due to lack of resources to begin the training programmes.
“He explained: “This collaboration came at a point when we had completed a skill acquisition centre that has not been put to use.
Government spent a lot of money erecting the structure and would not wait and see it rot away. What the company has on offer are programmes that can spread all over the country. They have made a commitment to spread the training programmes such as carrier coaching to other parts of the country.”
The NDE Chief highlighted that the Memorandum of Understanding is for the Bwari skill acquisition centre that has one-year lifespan.
He added: “While the NDE has a responsibility to protect government investments, the Carrier Intelligence has a responsibility to protect their own investment and make it sustainable. After one year, if the collaboration proves mutually beneficial, the understanding can then go on for more years and well into the future. The MoU is put in place to ensure the terms of the agreement are constantly reviewed to ensure smooth working relations even where there are changes of leadership in the Directorate.”
Speaking further on the advantages of the collaboration, Abubakar said NDE trainees would enjoy heavy discount while the other skill acquisition centres across the country will also learn new training skills.
On his part, the managing director of Carrier Intelligence, David Yusuf, said unemployment is growing in the country because of lack of scientific ways of determining the best suitable jobs for job seekers.
His explanation: “Our initiative is a start-off point for bridging the skill gap in Nigeria. The skill gap between where we ought to be as a nation and where we are presently is very wide. Irrespective of this worrying gap, there has to be a start-off point which must be comprehensive, scientific, evidence and outcome-base that is devoid of guess work. What we are here to deliver is very comprehensive and scientific way of tackling the issue of unemployment and job creation looking at multiple factors that are involved in the predisposing causes of unemployment especially among youths.”
While he agreed that most Nigerian youths see university education as the only sure way of getting good jobs, Yusuf posited that such mindset must change with active collaboration of all the major stakeholders.
“Changing the mindset of Nigerian youth on skill acquisition does not lie with the Carrier Intelligence alone, families, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, parents and government because a comprehensive approach is needed. It is a mindset that has been there for decades and changing it will require deliberate efforts on the part of everyone that has contact with youths,” he said.
He argued that proficiency and efficiency of skills are the key factors that drive global job demands, which Nigerians must also key into.
“Regardless of where one studies, what is key that must be understood is that certification and certificates alone do not guarantee a good job. What lands jobs is ability to demonstrate skills on a particular job. The situation in the world we live in today is that there are scientific ways in which skills are measured. It means that no skill, no job. It is as simple as that,” he stated.
The attainment of Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa is indeed a massive achievement; Yusuf said such feat might be meaningless unless Nigeria is ready to fill the skills’ challenge.
“We thank God for what is happening in Nigeria as the biggest economy on the Africa continent, but is the workforce ready for the expansion that is coming?
“The challenge is lack to information. An average Nigerian youth does not understand his talent. How to harness his talent and where to get information to make things happen for him is a major challenge and that is what we are here for. To help people rediscover their existence and how to earn income from what they enjoy doing and doing effortlessly.”