by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has made an archive of having trained over 500,000 Nigerians that are, today, using the skills acquired to earn sustainable livelihoods.
ITF’s Director-General, Sir Joseph Ari, disclosed this on Tuesday, while briefing newsmen on his assumption of office for the second tenure at ITF Headquarters in Jos.
Sir Ari declared that, during his four years’ administration, he has achieved and performed remarkably in the objectives and mandate of the Fund in which not less than 500,000 Nigerians have been trained into various entrepreneurial skills.
He said when he took over in 2016 as Director-General, the ITF was in shambles, where stakeholders expressed dissatisfaction with their services, adding that, within four years with hard work of the management team and staff, eight giant projects spread across Nigeria, were completed and awaiting commissioning.
The D-G noted that, ITF has also expanded, completed and commissioned its training infrastructure in Kano, Katsina, Lagos and Jos, which were previously abandoned.
Others, he said, were the establishment of six new area offices in Lafia, Gwagwalada, Badagry, Owerri Rumoukwuta, and Abakaliki, adding that, “Access to the Fund and services became easier, with an exponential increase in the number of Nigerians that are trained by it.”
According to him, his achievements were made with the cooperation of working together with management and staff of the Fund, which earned him the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari, who graciously approved his reappointment.
Sir Ari appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari, saying, “for first appointing me as Director-General/CE and, for giving me another opportunity to further contribute my quota to the development of our dear country for another four years.”
He urged the staff to be more active, effective and creative to overcome the challenges of COVID-19, which has created negative impact on the economy, adding that the Fund is targeted at rectifying the pitfalls that were observed in the implementation of the first-phase, build on the achievements thereof, and directly address emergent challenges of stakeholders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director-General further explained that ITF has nine focus areas, which include Direct Training Services, Revenue Generation and Sustainable Funding, Resource Utilization, Special Intervention Programmes, Human Capital Development, Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), Research and Development, Automation of Business Processes and other programmes and services.
Accordingly, Sir Ari pointed out that, their expectation is that in the next four years, the ITF will further escalate and amplify its activities, especially with regards to skills acquisition and empowerment of youths and indigent segments of the society as well as strengthen the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector through need-based training in view of the vital importance of the sector to national growth and development, especially in the light of the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government.