Senate Chief Whip, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has cited lack of properly trained graduates, with requisite skills to secure jobs in a competitive labour market, as one of the factors fuelling the high unemployment rate in the country.
The lawmaker, who spoke at the commencement of the Graduate Skills Training (GST) programme of an Abuja based tech company, TerraSkills, yesterday, urged Nigerians not to blame President Muhammadu Buhari nor the National Assembly over the high unemployment rate, saying many graduates were not groomed properly.
Kalu said some tertiary institutions’ lecturers were not properly informed about the current needs of the labour market, a trend he said had contributed to the churning out of unproductive graduates.
“We should not blame President Muhammadu Buhari nor the National Assembly over the high rate of unemployment in the country which is causing insecurity, I’ve been a governor so I know what I am talking about.
“Most of our graduates are not properly trained for the jobs, that’s why there is insecurity. Everything is not on Buhari or the National Assembly. It is because most people are not groomed properly for leadership.
“Going to the university is not enough because most of these lecturers don’t even know what they are teaching you. I became an entrepreneur before I went into politics and I am still the chief adviser of my companies that employ over 13,000 people so I know what I am talking about,” Kalu said.
While advising participants at the TerraSkills graduate skills training, Kalu said most people in many companies are not well trained.
“Training is the key, no human being is perfect. Government is not perfect, the private sector cannot be perfect. What you should do is to take the good and throw away the bad. No knowledge is a waste. Even now, I want to leave the comfort of my office and go to the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and study. I won’t mind being a student with you here at TerraSkills because studies are important,” Kalu said.
He said most of his factories are in Lagos, but that he wants to establish a 150,000 tonnes rice mill in his village.
Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, who is also the founder of TerraSkills, said it took them three years of research to come up with the graduate skills training programme.
“This is not about making money, but about developing human capital. Many graduates don’t have the skills. I’ve told the staff that anyone that is not trainable, after two weeks, his money should be refunded because he or she doesn’t have a place here. The essence is to improve the productivity of companies in Nigeria. We also want to help reduce the number of graduates without jobs in the country. We will continue to equip the graduates with the necessary skills to fit in the job environment.”
Representative of the Director General (DG) of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Aminu Mohammed, said TarraSkills was replicating what they were doing at the ITF adding that they would ensure they continue to make Nigerian youths employable.
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