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Shettima Unveils Plans To Build Skilled National Workforce

Vice President Kashim Shettima has implored members of the reconstituted National Council on Skills (NCS) to focus more on building a skilled workforce in Nigeria.

Speaking on Wednesday when he inaugurated the Council at the Presidential Villa, the Vice President outlined the administration’s key strategies for a skilled workforce, including harmonizing skills development policies, fast-tracking the National Skills Qualification Framework, establishing funding mechanisms, and advocating for professional certification.

“A skilled nation is one that has paved its road to the future,” he stated, adding that the administration is aware of the realities the nation faces and recognizes the monumental tasks that lie ahead for the NCS.

VP Shettima also highlighted the NCS’s role as a driving force for skills development in Nigeria, saying “since its inception in 2019, the National Council on Skills has emerged as a pivotal force in providing policy direction for our skills ecosystem”.

He further announced the addition of two new members to the council – the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education and the Chairman of the Committee of Sector Skill Councils in Nigeria.

“This underscores our commitment to addressing challenges head-on,” Shettima explained, noting that the Tinubu administration is dedicated to supporting all stakeholders in the skills ecosystem.

Pledging to address the lack of standardization and regulation currently hindering the sector’s full potential, the VP said, “Central to this commitment is the recognition of the informal sector’s substantial contribution to our nation’s GDP. Our aim is to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of contributing to both national and international endeavors.”

The Vice President also emphasized the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as the fourth pillar in the administration’s action plan.

He urged the council members to actively engage in discussions and collaborate to develop a comprehensive action plan.

“We must establish robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track our progress. May our deliberations be fruitful, and may we emerge stronger and more united in our resolve to uplift the skills landscape of our beloved nation,” the VP added.

Earlier in his presentation at the 3rd meeting of the Council, the Minister of Education and first Vice Chairman of the body, Prof. Tahir Mamman briefed the meeting on the activities of the Council and important issues of note, especially the proposed establishment of Skills Centres across the country and the planned National Policy on Vocational Skills Development, among others.

On their part, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Mr Uche Nnaji and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, stressed the need for synergizing efforts, ideas and resources in fast tracking skills training for artisans in the construction and related industry.

In his presentation to Council, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje highlighted the significance of the Nigerian Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) Bill and noted other salient issues such as the harmonization of skills development efforts in the country and exploring partnership arrangements to fund skills development in Nigeria.

He noted that stakeholders in the sector must begin to see skills development as low-hanging fruits for the government to attain its objectives of creating opportunities for many youths and diversifying the economy through industrialization.

Also present at the meeting were the Ministers of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu; Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye; representative of Alhaji Aliko Dangote who is the second Vice Chairman of the Council; the Director General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Abdullahi Mustapha; Chairman of the Committee of Sector Skills Council, and representatives of the British Council and Embassy of Morocco.

Other members of Council present at the meeting included the representatives of the President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA); President of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN); Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), and Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC).

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