Home Opinion The ITF Big Bang and Tinubu’s Tall Order

The ITF Big Bang and Tinubu’s Tall Order

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The ITF Big Bang and Tinubu’s Tall Order

The Nigerian economy is undergoing a gradual transformation, characterized by both challenges and opportunities, with consequences both planned and unplanned. This evolving landscape is marked by high unemployment rates, fierce competition for the limited available job slots, and an increasing demand for skilled labor. In response to these realities, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is making frantic efforts to recalibrate the economy through innovative measures. Many government agencies and institutions are actively implementing innovative strategies, striving to ensure that the President achieves his vision for the country and prevents the nation’s economy from sliding into deeper crisis.

Amidst these shifts, Nigerian youth remain a beacon of hope, demonstrating resilience and entrepreneurial skills with the goal of reshaping the nation’s narrative. To further strengthen their resolve and drive, some government agencies are focusing on redirecting youth mindsets and changing the narrative through unconventional measures. One such government institution is the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), considered one of the major stakeholders in training institutions for skill acquisition in industry and commerce, as well as technical and entrepreneurial development in both the public and private sectors of the economy.

Since its inception in 1971, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has played a significant role in increasing awareness about training initiatives within the economy. Over the years, the Fund has contributed to the development of a skilled local workforce, bridging the gap between employers’ expectations and workforce performance. Under the visionary leadership of the Director-General, Dr. Oluwatoyin Afiz Ogun, the ITF has identified numerous opportunities among a vital group of workers who have been grossly neglected – the artisans.

Traditionally, Nigerian youths have been directed towards pursuing conventional white-collar careers, often resulting in a surplus of unemployed graduates grappling with job scarcity. Painfully, nation’s artisanship market is gradually being dominated by foreigners, such as Beninoises, Ghanaians, and Togolese. There has been a perception that the ITF primarily focused its training programmes on the workforce within the formal sector, neglecting those in the informal sector who also play a key role in the nation’s economic prosperity. Dr. Ogun, however, is challenging this status quo, advocating for a recalibration of societal norms that prioritize academic credentials over practical skills and innovative thinking. In his vision, true success lies not solely in possessing a degree but also in one’s ability to offer tangible solutions to real-world challenges.

Dr. Ogun’s strong belief in the untapped potential of Nigerian artisans serves as the cornerstone of his mission. Recognizing the comparative advantage inherent within the nation’s skilled workforce, he has embarked on a relentless crusade to empower artisans, providing them with the tools, resources, and opportunities needed to compete on a global scale. Through his tireless efforts, Dr. Ogun seeks to catalyze a paradigm shift in Nigeria’s approach to skills development and economic empowerment.

Central to the ITF’s transformative agenda in the informal sector is the Skill UP Artisans (SUPA), a groundbreaking initiative designed to formalize and professionalize the artisanal sector. By providing artisans with access to training, certification, and licensing, this program seeks to unlock the full potential of Nigeria’s skilled workforce, positioning them as valued contributors to the nation’s economic prosperity. Dr. Oluwatoyin Afiz Ogun recognizes that many young graduates who “Japa” to the United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, Germany, China, and other countries are willing to work as artisans in foreign countries because those countries respect and reward artisans for their skills. Therefore, Dr. Ogun believes that the best way to reposition the sector in Nigeria is by recognizing and rewarding artisans, thereby conferring on them a worthy status.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s efforts to change the economic trajectory of the nation have set a high standard for all government institutions to recalibrate their models. In response to this clear directive, Dr. Oluwatoyin Afiz Ogun, the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), has swiftly consolidated and expanded the ITF programs, positioning the organization for greater achievements. As the country grapples with high unemployment and an increasing demand for skilled labor, there is optimism among Nigerians that the timely innovations currently being championed by the ITF will empower the youth and artisans to reshape the narrative of prosperity. With steadfast determination and collaborative efforts, Nigeria is poised to emerge stronger and more resilient, paving the way for sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all.

Certainly, when the story of the country’s greatness is told and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s contributions are recounted, it will equally be noted that Dr. Oluwatoyin Afiz Ogun played a significant role in the success story.

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