Nigeria has the required potentials to emerge as a net exporter of skills to the West African Sub-region which could be achieved through the training of youths with the aim of filling the local and regional middle level manpower gaps. Global Excellence gathered that the Kwara State governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed made this known while holding talks with the Vice -Chancellor of University of Wolverhampton during his recent official visit to the United Kingdom. The governor maintained that if the proper structures for the training of Nigerian youths in market-relevant vocational skills are put in place, the country will not only meet the local needs for critical vocational skills but will also be a net exporter of skills to the sub-region.
The establishment of the International Vocational, Technical and Entrepreneurship Center, (IVTEC) Ajase Ipo, whose curriculum was developed in conjunction with the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), was a step taken towards getting the dreams realized, having observed that formal educational institutions have been unable to fill the skills gap in Nigeria and the sub-region. Kwara State is according to the governor also supporting this drive through the establishment of the nationally-acclaimed Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises Scheme (MSME) in the state under which more than N2b has been so far disbursed to the small business owners through cooperatives.
‘IVTEC will train the youths in critical skill areas identified in partnership with NECA and prepare the students for the City and Guilds of London certification which will make such graduates employable locally, nationally and internationally. The present practice of importing artisans from the West African sub-region into Nigeria needs to be reversed in favour of the country and its youths’, he said.
Governor Ahmed who emphasized that his administration’s renewed drive for skills training and entrepreneurship was also spurred by the gradual transformation of the state from a civil service-driven environment to an economically vibrant state which must be sustained by promoting entrepreneurship and growing the private sector particularly the informal economy also 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 Internal Revenue Service, (KWIRS) whose management had just completed an executive course at the University’s Business School. In his remarks, the University’s Vice- Chancellor, Professor 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, the university Don who acknowledged Governor Ahmed’s quest to change the way Kwara State is governed and funded through IGR reforms and manpower training submitted that though like any change process, the quest may be difficult but should, however, be sustained in the interest of the state and its future, the youths in particular.
Governor Ahmed was later hosted to a reception by the Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton, Councillor Elias Mattu