The Management of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Enugu Area Office, was on Tuesday February 26, 2019 hosted to an interactive session by the African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage). The ITF team led by its Area Manager who is also an assistant director in the organization, Uzoamaka Yahaya, also had Mr Innocent Nwawueze (Asst. Director/Head of Revenue Dept); Ifokwe Rose (Head of Training); Ogbodo Nkin (PRO); and Chinedu Chinelo (Chief Training and Development Officer) as other members of the team.
Speaking during the meeting, the team leader briefed their host on some of the services being rendered by the government agency. According to her, “the mandate of the ITF is to develop the nation’s human resource. To achieve this therefore, the organization provides key services such as research, development of training programs, administration of the Students Industrial Work Scheme (SIWES), collection of Training Contribution and payment of Reimbursement to encourage employers of labour to train amongst others”. She goes further to say that as a way of achieving this mandate, ITF has over the years developed some training packages geared towards capacity building and to ensure improvement of productivity and efficiency in the work place. Throwing more light, the Head of Training, Mr. Innocent Nwanze, revealed that the organization has capacity and infact undertakes training in a broad range of specialized areas including critical areas as Engineering, Information and communications technology, banking and finance, HR management, etc. The ITF team encouraged AfriHeritage to participate in one of the paid-training programs organized by the Fund, saying this will enable the Institution get acquainted with the technicalities involved in filing and requesting for Training Deposit Refund which the Institution, like most other organizations, is entitled to.
Responding, the Executive Director of AfriHeritage, Professor Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, bemoaned the current situation where organizations are made to pay high fees for staff training and capacity building, a responsibility for which the ITF, a national agency, was established from tax-payers money. He stressed that having observed that there is a national need to raise the nation’s manpower capacity in order to guarantee optimum productivity and efficiency in the nation’s labour force, the government (ITF) has a responsibility to create programs that will help fill the gap, without necessarily over burdening already tax-paying organizations. He therefore advised the Fund to take a second look at their policy of asking organizations who make the mandatory contribution to the ITF, to pay for trainings. Professor Okeke-Uzodike believes “this should be one of the direct benefits of such organizations as contributors to the Fund”.