The Tony Elumelu Foundation commits to designing and implementing a technical and vocational training curriculum over a period of five years in order to address the skills gap and unemployment problems in Nigeria, with a focused strategy first in Lagos. The Foundation will deploy a combination of human resources, grants and impact investments as well as engage in policy advocacy, to deliver on this ambitious goal. The initiative entails conducting Lagos-focused market research and developing a detailed business plan, including a study of the most innovative and low cost education and training solutions appropriate for the Nigerian market. Partnerships will be secured early on with relevant public sector agencies, innovative technical partners, and other interested Nigerian and international philanthropists and impact investors. Relevant industrial and construction private sector partners will also be sought to develop an appropriate apprenticeship ecosystem for students receiving technical and vocational training. Upon completion of the business plan and assembling the right combination of partners, the Foundation will aggressively drive execution so that courses are delivered within six to nine months, ramping up quickly over the ensuing three years. In parallel, the Foundation's Policy Department will work with state and federal level bodies to influence the broader curriculum, certification process, and public technical and vocational training system towards a more practical approach to training for the needs of the current Nigerian market.
- Develop business plan, identify key partners and solution providers, as well as key policy issues to address (end of 2012)
- Execute on business plan through developing relevant local curriculum with selected solution providers, identify training facilities and faculty in partnership with public agencies, and sign partnership agreements with initial set of industry partners (end of Q1 2013)
- Begin delivering courses to pilot group of students (end of Q2 2013)
- Refine training and delivery for second round of pilots and begin delivering curriculum (end of Q3 2013)
- Full launch with a target of 1,000 students in training (end of Q4 2013)
- Ramp up to short course training of 25,000 students (end of Q4 2014)
- Ramp up to 50,000 students trained annually in Lagos by; expansion to other key Nigerian cities such as Kano, Abuja, and Port Harcourt (end of Q4 2015)
Nigeria lacks the ability to be competitive in part because of a shortage of skilled workers, particularly those in technical and vocational occupations. The country also suffers from a serious unemployment problem, with some estimates suggesting that Nigeria's youth unemployment rate is above 60%. Many of these youth are unskilled and unemployable. According to the Director General of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), in Lagos alone there is a shortage of 150,000 skilled plumbers, electricians, and welders needed for current construction efforts - and other skill areas such as auto mechanics, retail customer service providers, and hospitality suffer from similar deficits as well.
In spite of this large employment opportunity, the current state of the Nigerian technical and vocational training system - along with the national curriculum and certification process - has not been set up to deliver results in a practical and inexpensive way. This commitment seeks to address the dual problems of the skills gap and youth unemployment by introducing low cost scalable and sustainable solutions to large scale and practical technical and vocational training in Nigeria.
The Foundation is open to a variety of types of partnerships to make this effort successful. This includes others willing to invest (either grants or impact investments) either directly in the effort, or through providing scholarships and other financial support to the students; implementing partners (especially those with relevant curriculum and/ or technology solutions); and best practice information of how delivering technical and vocational education at scale has been successfully accomplished in other geographies.