FIC Report (Nasarawa State) – The Wing Commander Abdullahi Ibrahim Vocational and Technical Institute Lafia, has graduated its first batch of 70 trainees, having undergone an intensive three-month training in Information Communication Technology, welding and fabrication.
Presenting certificates to the graduands of the institute at a colorful ceremony, in Lafia, Director General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF)/Chairman ITF-NECA board, Sir Joseph Ari, said the scheme, Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP), is a joint initiative of the ITF and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), aimed at promoting availability of manpower with appropriate technical and vocational skills, to meet identified needs of industries and the country.
The ITF director general added that, the training will also provide employable and entrepreneurship skills to youths to address skills needed in the country, as well as impact practical skills and attitudes for employment and entrepreneurship-minded workforce to reduce unemployment and create wealth.
In a goodwill message, Executive Director, SMEs, of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Shekarau Umar, said the bank is ready to support the graduands from the N500m youth revolving scheme set up in collaboration with the Nasarawa State government.
He disclosed that, the BOI, under the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has disbursed over N4.8bn to Nigerians across the 36 states, adding that the bank will ensure that the graduands of the Wing Commander Abdullahi Ibrahim Vocational and Technical Institute Lafia will benefit from that project.
“I also want to make it very clear to the graduands that funds to support you have been provided for by the state government and is sitting with us. We will support you in the best way we can,” Umar said.
While appreciating Engineer Sule for his foresight and commitment towards youths development through skills acquisition, the BOI executive director, recalled how 15 years ago, the Nasarawa State Governor, while working with the Dangote Group, ensured that an MoU was signed with the Bank of Industry, where N5bn was released to the bank, to start a N10bn loan scheme for Nigerians, with no interest from Dangote.
He noted that, having participated in two to three MoUs with 22 state governments and also with either the Federal Government or individuals, including that of Dangote, the BOI is yet to see one that so far, has gone beyond what Nasarawa State government has done.
“We have signed an MoU, we have established office within one month, the fund have been released to us all with the one month. It has never happened. That is why I said Nigeria has been very lucky but now coming home, Nasarawa State is very lucky to have such an individual as your Governor,” he stated.
A very elated Engineer Abdullahi Sule, commended the ITF and NECA for the development programme, such that within a year after the setup of the institution, trainees are graduating in order for them to stand on their feet.
Engineer Sule said, the Lafia technical institute was started on a different note from the initial concept by his predecessor, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, who had wanted to set up completely a different kind of institute, purely for primary school leavers.
“When I came and I discovered the opportunities and potentials, I said no, we will not stop here, we will make it bigger, we will invite bigger partners. So we set up completely different kinds of shops, different kinds of trades, different kinds of training, different types of curriculum, invited ITF and today we have NECA. I am the happiest person that we are having this event here today,” he stated.
The Governor announced that his administration will also support the graduands before they are finally able to access financial support from tye BOI, stressing that, the state government will give one laptop each to the best 10 ICT graduands, while the best graduands in welding and fabrication will each receive a mobile welding machine.
He confirmed the willingness of the BOI to support the graduands with various sums of money, ranging from N3m for individuals and N10m for groups, in order for the graduands to establish businesses of their own.
Engineer Sule equally called on the state Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport, the Nasarawa Urban Development Board (NUDB) and the Nasarawa State Agency for Rural Development, to maximally patronize the graduands of the Lafia Technical Institute, by enduring the businesses they are starting should be giving opportunities to handle their projects.
“I am happy we are having this today and by the grace of God, this is the kind of dream that we have, this is what we know and what Nasarawa State will have,” he stated.
Earlier, in a welcome address, Executive Director, Wing Commander Abdullahi Ibrahim Vocational and Technical Institute Lafia, Dr. Daniel EwugaAsele, disclosed that a total of 70 trainees in two trades namely ICT and Welding & Fabrication are graduating, with the trades selected based on their potential value addition to individual trainees and to the growth, development of the Nigerian economy.
Dr. Asele charged the graduands to prove that the 3 months intensive training was worth the while, especially that with their acquired skills, entrepreneurial spirit and certificates, they are well prepared to make the best out of any circumstance they may confront.
He added that, aside of the two trades, the institute has 40 different relevant and contemporary trade areas that are targeted at job and wealth creation.
As part of activities lined up for the graduation ceremony, a book authored by the executive director of the institute, “Beyond Degrees to Vocational Skills” was launched, while goodwill messages were delivered by prominent personalities, including the Emir of Lafia, HRH Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad (rtd).
ARI, LIMAN AMINU.
HEAD OF CENTRE.
FEDERAL INFORMATION CENTRE, LAFIA.