Youth Unemployment: NIGCOMSAT Moves To Bridge Skills Gap

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Adamu Idris

NIGCOMSAT in its bid to empower the youth and bridge the skills gap in the Nigerian satellite industry is training 600 Nigerian youths under a 12-state pilot training project on the installation  of the Very Small Aperture Terminal (V-SAT), a technology targeted at bringing clearer satellite pictures and sounds transmission from communication satellite to television sets in our homes.

Until recently, little was known of the Very Small Aperture Terminal (V-SAT) which is commonly popular in the satellite engineering palace. 

There is no gainsaying that Nigeria has significant skills gap in different endeavours and one of such is the satellite industry. This could have informed the decision of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Pantami to quickly develop the National Policy On VSAT Installation Core Skills For Nigerian Youths. The core skills gap training is also aimed at directly or indirectly optimising the full usage of NigComSat-1R, a communications satellite operated and managed by NIGCOMSAT Ltd. The VSAT training for the teeming youths across the country which has kicked off in nearly twelve states is intended to give an opportunity for knowledge and economic empowerment among others. 

This technology is also geared towards addressing the skills gap needs in our youths across the country who have bias in satellite applications. The economic emancipation through the training project which has so far gained popularity with the launch of the national policy on VSAT installation core skills for Nigeria is unquantifiable. 

Twelve states as pilot scheme have commenced this training and they are: Gombe, Kano and Abia in the first phase of the training project. The states in the second phase that have also benefitted are Kebbi and Ekiti while Lagos and Bauchi were in the third phase. The fourth set of states that will commence the training after the public holiday are Plateau, Niger and Anambra respectively.

The remaining states that will complete the twelve states on the pilot scheme are Rivers and Akwa-Ibom. The success of this is expected to be replicated in the remaining states to ensure every state of the federation benefits from the programme.

In each of these states, 50 youths will benefit from the training and they will be presented with start-up tools and a token as empowerment grant after the training.

The minister had said the  Global VSAT Forum had confirmed that developing countries were turning to satellite-based solutions and optimally linking same to the value chain from providers of raw materials to consumers in widely separated geographic areas. 

He reiterated that the satellite system are increasingly playing a critical role in the growth of the global digital economy as a result of the benefits that they provide. Indeed, the benefits are enormous and they include but not limited to reduction in cost of doing business and improved accessibility in difficult terrains, rural and remote areas amongst many.

Muhammad Sani Kulliya, a beneficiary of the training from Kano Centre could not hide his feelings of gratitude for being part of the hands-on training and the tools given to them including grants to enable them contribute to the economic development of the country.

The Gombe VSAT installers forum which existed and became the umbrella body for those with interest in VSAT project was overwhelmed by the gesture by NIGCOMSAT and Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. To the members, the coming on board of an additional 50 youths to their fold came as a surprise and was a welcome development because it is an area that many more hands are needed to actualize the drive for a digital economy.

In Abia, the trainees welcomed the empowerment project with enthusiasm.  They considered the closing of the capacity building gap in the delivery of the satellite-based services as a step in the right direction for the purpose of building the economy. 

Experts have established that there is a strong link between human capital development and the growth of any economy. It is on this wise that the training of the youths initiated by the minister of communications and digital economy through NIGCOMSAT Ltd to develop and champion this Noble cause can be viewed. 

The task of taking one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty as envisaged by President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed a reality and l can boldly say it has begun with NIGCOMSAT Ltd setting the pace through its supervisory ministry.

This policy which is aimed at providing the youth in the six geo-political zones of the country with specialized skills on VSAT and Television Receive Only (TVRO) antenna installation for the delivery of satellite-based services could as well be replicated in other agencies of government by domesticating their kind of services to engage the teeming youth. By so doing, the issues of waiting for white collar jobs and unemployment would have been taken care of.  

As far as job creation, opportunities, growth of the economy are concerned, NIGCOMSAT has set the pace. 

—Adamu Idris is the general manager, corporate affairs dept and special project at NIGCOMSAT Ltd.

Adamu Idris
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