Ford Motor Company and its local dealer Coscharis Motors have said they would continue to dedicate their efforts to showcase the importance of investing in youth skills development in Nigeria.
World Youth Skills Day, marked every year on 15 July, is one of the new United Nations (UN) International Days of observance established by the UN General Assembly in 2014.
Africa has the world’s youngest population and it is growing rapidly. African countries will need to address the rise in youth unemployment. Nigeria is no different. According to Trading Economics, approximately 25% of the youth in Nigeria are unemployed. Industries such as the auto sector present an opportunity for governments to tackle youth unemployment. It’s essential that the youth are given the necessary skills to succeed in the industry to ensure competitiveness. Adequate training is the bedrock of any industry.
Coscharis Motors in partnership with the Lagos State Government has designated an automotive training centre in the revamped premises of Eko Engineering Ventures. The objective is to produce qualified staff for the local motor industry. The ultra-modern training centre was officially opened in 2012.
Ford and Coscharis Motors have donated several vehicles to the CG-Eko LLP training centre to be used for practical training. These include three Ford Ranger pick-up trucks, a Ford Everest SUV, 1.5-litre Ford Figo and a Ford EcoSport. From the years 2013 – 2017, as many as 41 technicians were trained using the donated Ford vehicles at the training centre.
Abiona Babarinde, Coscharis group General Manager, Marketing, and Corporate Communications, says: “The role of employees in the much-changed motor industry of the 21st century – particularly technicians – means that extensive training is required as vehicles become increasingly high tech. Today’s automotive technicians are very different from the general mechanics of old. We, at the Coscharis group, are thankful that Ford believes in our mission and vision by providing practical support to our projects. We will continue to work together with Ford to develop the automotive industry in Nigeria.”
Coscharis Motors have taken various other initiatives to develop Nigeria’s automotive industry with the training of technicians as an important means of closing the skills gap being a major focus. The company believes that establishing a fully functioning automotive industry will contribute significantly to youth training while decreasing the high unemployment in Nigeria.
“The recent appointment of acclaimed car designer Jelani Aliyu as Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has added renewed vigour to the development of the local motor industry as Jelani’s own career began in this industry,” added Babarinde.
The United Nations says that fostering the acquisition of skills by the youth will enhance their ability to make informed choices about life and work, while empowering them to gain access to a changing labour market and viable employment opportunities.