By Funmi Ogundare
The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo has stressed the need for the government to allocate funds for research and development that will take care of gifted children. She said the move would empower them and benefit the society positively.
Erogbogno, who made this known recently while briefing journalists on advocacy for technical education in the state, said it has helped in providing quality technical skills to Nigerian youths in diverse areas of the economy.
"Embracing technical and vocational skills acquisition by young people in Lagos will address the skills gap in the economy, as well as provide the means for them to be self-relevant."
Erogbogbo said the training offered through her board has so far ensured adequate skills training of empowering young people, preparing them for the world of work, providing job opportunities and keeping the youths off the streets.
She disclosed that the Ambode administration is proposing three additional technical colleges in the state, which will be situated in Meiran, Ibeju-Lekki and Badagry. "This is yet another opportunity for this government to demonstrate its renewed commitment to revamp Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) in the state.
"We have chosen to champion TVE as it focuses specifically on providing job-related skills for students while also preparing them to be positioned to develop new enterprises. In the 2018 budget, the construction of the three new technical colleges has been recognised and we have already taken possession of the land."
She dismissed the notion that technical education is for push-over or drop-outs in the society, saying that aside the technical skills, the students are also required to learn Physics, Biology, Chemistry, English Language and Mathematics as a prerequisite for NABTEB final examination.
Erogbogbo appealed to parents and secondary school leavers to embrace technical education, saying that parents especially should encourage their children to learn a trade and get skilled up for the future.
"Technical education is the bedrock of any developing economy like Lagos and Nigeria. The days of white collar jobs are gone and we should go out and tell people that the days of blue collar jobs are here, and what does that mean? We should encourage our children to learn a trade.
"There is hardly a day you don't need an electrician or plumber to do some jobs for you. Even our architects or engineers can't do without those with technical know-how because they bridge the gap. So we need to have a change of mind set and know that people doing technical education are not drop outs.
Asked about the board's modern apprenticeship and training programme, she said: "It is called mind set training for graduates that wants to learn a trade. It runs for a period of six months. We do entrepreneurship; it is already in the curriculum and soft skills. The opportunities are there and we make them realise what is available. It is going to be continuous from time to time, we need to educate ourselves. It is what you know that you can impart in others. We cannot all continue to wait for government to employ us. We have to learn something."