According to him, skills and not degree have become the new currency of employment of the 21st century economies. This he said, is a wake-up call for youths in Nigeria to rise to the occasion of acquiring skills that will give them an edge in society.
He stressed that skills and acquisition programmes must be added to school curriculums, explaining that it will prepare youths for the practical aspects of life.
He said: “Despite the enormous resource of Nigeria, the West African nation is facing donating socio-economic challenged which must be addressed to avoid the bubble from collapsing. The key underlying symptom of these challenges is unemployment.
“The ironic joblessness in the midst of plenty jobs from different sectors, is primarily because of the absence of relevant skills among the Nigerian youths. These skills are so dynamic as technology changes with emergence of innovations in manufacturing and construction.
“Soft skills may change over a longer cycle of time, but hard skills are so dynamic that workers must up skill regularly to meet up with the ever changing landscape of technology.
“Soft and hard skills must be allowed to take center stage in our educational system and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, must be revitalised for this to happen so that even degree holders will get admitted into Polytechnics to acquire the necessary skills for employment by industries.”
Highlighting some of the challenges of skills development among youths, Bugaje, stated some of the areas Nigeria must address.
He said: “Government should invest more in to TVET for skills acquisition rather than production of university degrees in our educational system, from the technical colleges to Polytechnics.
“Review of current entrepreneurship education curriculum in tertiary schools is necessary to make it more functional. Entrenching the new National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) across the country for both the formal and informal skills training sectors.
“Establishment of a National Skills Fund and establishment of Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Bank (SEDB) to provide credit line for small scale entrepreneurs at very low interest rates for skill hubs development and upgrade .”
Earlier, Vice Presient Yemi Osinbajo had formally declared open the stakeholders workshop, where he stated that there is no economical growth without players in industries, key players he referred to where investors, youths who have acquired skills.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said “There are still certain gaps in the economy. That is where partnerships collaboration with stakeholders in different sectors as well as involving the youths, will pave profitable paths for our economy.”