Empowering the Nigerian youth in skills acquisition training centres
ITS International Training & Support • Know-how-transfer and handover to local management
In 2007, the Ministry of Education of Adamawa State, Nigeria, envisioned to implement a high-standard technical training programme modelled after the German system, combining theoretical and practical skills training and hired ITS to establish such training in their state. ITS operates as an independent specialized provider of training programmes and related services in Germany and has been providing training solutions to partners in Africa, Asia and the Middle East for over 30 years. After participating in the iMOVE Africa Day in 2013, ITS became a member of the iMOVE network.
The initial concept of the Adamawa authorities was to train mechanics and electricians for the maintenance and repair of agriculture vehicles and machines to extend their lifespan and reduce the extensive number of broken tractors. But then Adamawa State decided to overhaul the whole training system: implementing workshops for practical skills training, modernizing the assessment and qualification of instructors, and modifying the general syllabus and the way of operation according to European standards. In response, after a thorough training needs analysis ITS suggested to implement a holistic solution, a so-called "Turn-key Training Centre". The first of these started in 2009, where students were trained in mechanics, electrics and electronics.
In 2010 the project was expanded to include also Special Works Trade Training Centres, offering trainings in woodworks, concrete and steel concrete. These trainings are particularly targeted at those students whose interests and talents are more focused within the area of construction work. This kind of training supports the local industry by reducing its dependence on imports for construction work and helps to improve the local infrastructure. In 2013 the Agric Skills Development Centre was established to ensure food security for Adamawa State by helping the agrarian economy of the state to increase its efficiency, applying state-of-the-art techniques and equipment to receive a better harvest yield and training students to become agricultural and farming machine-skilled farmers.
Under this mandate, ITS has successfully established twelve Skills Acquisition Training Centres over the past five years. The project has expanded extensively according to the demands of Adamawa State. Now the centres encompass vocational, technical, special works and agric trade skills. Students spend 50 to 80 per cent of the lessons in the workshops or on the field which underlines the focus on practical competences.
Sustained continuance of training in the future is heavily reliant on the knowledge transfer realized via the train-the-trainer courses for instructors. These courses prepare the local instructors of Adamawa State in didactic and rhetoric training sessions to teach the students in a modern and efficient way. Pre-selected experienced Nigerian school instructors took part in train-the-trainer courses, at first only attending, then in subsequent courses taking over well-selected subjects under close supervision of the ITS experts.
The curricula taught are closely aligned to the German vocational training system and drawn up by German experts according to the German syllabus. However, the contents are also tailored and extended to fit the local needs of Adamawa State. The Agric Training is coordinated in close partnership with the Chamber of Agriculture, Lower Saxony, Germany. Students are not only provided with sound theory, but also with practical skills training in workshop-based lessons with state-of-the-art tools and machines and detailed student tasks. The teachware includes a detailed outline for teachers, whilst the students receive detailed handouts for revision purposes.
An essential part of this project was the step-by-step take-over by the Nigerian management. During the project runtime ITS handled the operations of the schools on the ground with the help of a German school manager. His duties included the set-up of a daily operation routine, the administration and budgeting of the school along with the retraining of instructors. The school manager was also responsible for training two management-talented instructors to first become his deputies, and later on his successors as school manager and deputy. In 2012 the first three VTTCs in Yola, Mayo Belwa and Mubi started the transition from German to local management. The former Nigerian deputy school managers took over the management of the school, albeit under supervision of the German expert, whose influence is gradually reduced over the course of three years.
With ITS as a partner, Adamawa State has achieved a big step forward on its way towards a skilled workforce. Training over 2,300 students in the Technical Skills Acquisition Centres, the Specialised Works Trade Training Centres and the Agric Skills Development Centres, and employing nearly 500 instructors and support staff to run the schools clearly demonstrates the impact of the programme on employment, alleviating poverty and increasing food security in Adamawa State.