The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African based and funded non-profit institution, dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa; the foundation was founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu C.O.N., The Foundation’s aim is to drive the continent’s economic growth from within by grooming business students, young entrepreneurs and CEOs of African corporations at various stages of their development.
As part of The Tony Elumelu Foundation effort to enhance private sector competitiveness across Africa, the foundation announced its “Putting Nigeria to Work with Technical and Vocational Skills” programme as the Foundation’s formal commitment at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York, USA. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was established in 2005 by President Clinton, the CGI convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
The programme, which is to be replicated across Africa, is to tackle two major problems facing the Nigerian labour Market, which are: high youth unemployment rate, and the vast vocational skills gap.
Dr. Wiebe Boer, CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation announced at the CGI meeting in New York that “In spite of substantial employment opportunities, the current state of the Nigerian technical and vocational training system – along with the national curriculum and certification process – has not been set up to deliver results in a practical and affordable way. This commitment seeks to address the dual problems of the skills gap and youth unemployment by introducing low cost scalable and sustainable solutions to large scale and practical technical and vocational training in Nigeria.”
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is pledging to design and deliver a technical and vocational training curriculum over a five-year period in order to address the two key issues. The programme is beginning with a focused development strategy in Lagos, where Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola has recognised the importance of technical and vocational education to the development of the state.
Lagos is a vital commercial centre for Nigeria and has reported a need for 150,000 skilled plumbers, electricians, and welders. With Lagos as a pilot, the programme will expand to other key Nigerian cities including Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano, by 2014, with other African cities to follow.
The Foundation will deploy a combination of human resources, grants and impact investments as well as engage in policy advocacy, to deliver on this ambitious goal, and will seek to partner with innovative technical partners, and other interested Nigerian, African, and international philanthropists and impact investors. Relevant private sector industrial and construction partners will also be sought to develop an appropriate apprenticeship ecosystem for students receiving technical and vocational training.
Sunny Varkey Chairman of GEMS Education, and majority shareholder of Everonn India, a partner with The Tony Elumelu Foundation to deliver on this commitment said, “Everonn has developed an innovative, low cost, and scalable model to deliver various types of technical and vocational education to improve the skill levels of Indians in trades as diverse as welding, plumbing, and retail services.”
He continued, “We believe that Nigeria’s demographics make the country a good candidate for a successful transfer of the model to address the country’s skills and jobs shortage and are pleased that The Tony Elumelu Foundation is seeking to partner with Everonn as the service provider to deliver on that promise.”
Upon completion of the business plan and formation of relevant partnerships, The Tony Elumelu Foundation will aggressively drive execution so that courses are delivered within six to nine months, ramping up quickly over the ensuing three years. In parallel, The Tony Elumelu Foundation will work with state and federal level bodies to influence the broader curriculum, certification process, and public technical and vocational training system towards a more practical approach to training for the needs of the current Nigerian market.
Tony O. Elumelu, C.O.N., Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation said, “Developing the human capacity of a nation to build a more competitive business environment is the key for any flourishing economy targeting sustained growth. By developing the raw talent and training young Nigerians to become skilled vocational workers, The Tony Elumelu Foundation will be helping Nigeria to take its place on the world stage.”
I hope and Pray for the success of this programme, this programme will surely be a giant step toward curbing unemployment in Nigeria. May God Bless Nigeria.
[image via Flickr/ a_dit.]