If the deepening depth of unemployment in Nigeria will be remedied, then we have to redefine and reposition the operation of Industrial Training Fund. The core responsibility of ITF must be to help students and people develop their gift. The best placement for Industrial Training should be placing people in the area of their gifting. Of all the paths that can take a man to high places in life, there is only one that seldom fails, and this is the path of our gifting! Against popular belief, our gifts and passion, and not our degrees, certificates or education are our tickets to high places in life.
The Industrial Training Fund Act (ITFA) came into effect on 8th October, 1971. The purpose of the Act was to establish a Fund –The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) -to be utilized to promote and encourage the acquisition of skills in industry or commerce in Nigeria with a view to generating a pool of indigenous trained manpower sufficient to meet the needs of the economy. Over four decades later, the ITFA is yet to make any noticeable impact. Like many other initiatives, the key issue is that of design and implementation. Though, the present Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari has brought in some novel initiatives, but the future of ITF is in the hand of renewed thinking leaders.
I was having a discussion with an I.T student in my establishment. She is presently around for a six-month Industrial Training. Though, she is studying Chemistry in the university but passionately gifted in photography. Most students are presently studying what they don’t even like in tertiary institutions, and further placing them in industries that have nothing to do with their passion and gift is a waste of their potentials. I am privileged to be the Editor-In-Chief of a youth magazine called Maximum Impact, and it is amazing to know that the organization that completely handled the design and publication of the magazine is founded by a medical doctor that graduated from U.I!
I believe strongly that if the ITF is redesigned to train students in their area of gifting and passion rather than course of study, it will create ample alternatives for graduates to fit into industries that are in the area of their gifting and course of study instead of looking for jobs only in their area of course of study.
The inspirational story of Bayo Omoboriowo, the personal photographer to the President of Nigeria and Chief Official photographer to the State house is both intriguing and reflective. Bayo studied Pure and Applied Chemistry from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and graduated in 2009 with a 4.26 CGPA. Today, Bayo has never used his UNILAG degree as he is totally sold out into photography which has actually taken him to places.
Using myself as a case study, I studied Pure Chemistry (B.Sc) in University of Ibadan and afterwards studied Analytical Chemistry (M.Sc) in the same university, but the truth is my heart has always been in writing but nobody ever see any sense in it except me. I did my Industrial Training in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). How I so wished I had my Industrial Training in a print media organization like Guardian, Punch, Vanguard, Daily Times etc., where my writing skills could have been horned and developed. Since there was no external encouragement, I have to spend a good number of years developing myself. Today, people know me more as an impactful writer more than a learned Chemist! I have been privileged to meet great people in the society just because they came across my writings and not because of what I used seven years in the University to study-Chemistry!
People will only shine in the area of their gifting. No matter what you study in any institution, you will only find your place in life when you are placed in the area of your gifting. We need to redesign our ITF to cater for students’ unique passion and gifting. Imagine what will happen if every students are placed in the area of their gifting and passion for Industrial Training for a period of six months! Our institution will begin to churn out graduates that can access opportunities in the line of their course of study and also in the area of their gifting.
Someone once said that old ways won’t open new doors. If new doors will ever open to millions of graduates coming out from our tertiary institutions every year, then we must create an alternative and sustainable openings to students by developing them in the area of their gifting.
Any education or system that does not teach us to discover, nurture, and develop our gifting and uniqueness is a waste! Education will never make you wealthy; it will only provide a platform to express your gifts. Real wealth lies not in your educational qualifications; real wealth lies in your gift. The bitter truth we all refuse to acknowledge in life is that your education, certificates and degrees will not take you to high places, they ONLY give you the platform to express your gifts and passion.
The purpose of education is to stir up and ‘fan’ our gifts into flame. Real education should ignite our gifts and passion but it is sympathetic to know that the present day form of education extinguishes our gifts. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:14, ‘’Neglect not the gift that is in thee’’. The kind of education we practice today teaches more about things and not ourselves; it has been “flawfully” designed to neglect and abandon our personal gifts. One of the greatest philosophers that ever lived, Socrates, summarised the whole essence of education: ‘’Man know thyself.’’ The key to success is in discovering your uniqueness and talents. The best education should show us how to unleash our potentials and gifts.
We must redesign and integrate properly the discovery of our gifts into the process of our education. Myles Munroe said, ‘’To know the right places for people, we must know their area of gifting”. As an entrepreneurship coach, I have come to realize that the easiest way to help unemployed youths is to help them find their area of gifting and passion. I have come to realize that the best of us is always within. Youths must take out time to diagnostically navigate within themselves to discover their area of gifting and core competencies. You can monetize that thing that you are so passionate about! The Nigerian educational system has prepared us to get addicted to looking for casual jobs that we sometimes end up becoming casualties. Thus, the fate of the nation lies in the Nigerian youths discovering themselves and nurturing their gifts.
One of the major reasons why unemployment will continue to thrive in Nigeria is simply because up to 90% of Nigerian graduates went to school to study what they are not passionate about. Many parents are culprits in aggravating this parental crime as many students go to tertiary institutions to live the lives that their parents were unable to live! Every parent wants his/her ward to become a medical doctor, a lawyer, an engineer etc., without any consideration for what the wards are super passionate and gifted for.
Dear parent, that you struggled to become a medical doctor, and you were unable to, doesn’t mean your children should be forced to live the life that you should have lived! That your children carried your genes and surname doesn’t mean they don’t have a life of their own. They will surely preserve your legacy but their life mustn’t be the extension of yours. They are designed by God to fulfill a purpose and when we tinker selfishly with this divine design, we make them to settle for less in life.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Until you discover and nurture your gifts, you will continue to travel another man’s journey”-Gbenga Adebambo