German government through its Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has said it will equip 50,000 Nigerian youths with necessary skills in the areas of construction and agriculture to meet the labour demands of industries within these sectors.

Christopher Wenzel, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy, disclosed this yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting on Skills Development for Youth Employment (SKYE) project convened in Abuja by German development agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Wenzel said the programme, which is expected to last for four years, will also cover the provision of decent employment for beneficiaries upon completion of the training exercise.

“50,000 youth in Nigeria will be trained by the German government within the next four years and we expect all of them to be employed afterwards. What we are doing is to bring together the demand for labour in this country with the supply of skilled workforce,” he said.

Speaking also, GIZ’s Country Director, Dr. Thomas Kirsch, said the 50,000 beneficiaries will be identified and selected in consort with state governments and the organized private sector.

He said: “We will focus on the priority areas of the present government which are construction and agriculture sectors. We are working with several state governments and organized private sectors like the Chambers of Commerce to identify young men and women who can be trained.”

On his part, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Vice President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (ACCIMA), lamenting the increasing number of unemployed youths in the country, said the business community in the FCT would provide a facility where the training will take place for the youths.

He said: “We know what our members need and the gaps they face especially with skilled workforce and that’s where we come in. One thing we have identified especially for Nigeria, is the fact that at the rate of population growth 2.6% every year. This implies that we have about 5 million new Nigerians been born, so you can imagine the number of youths that are out there and need to be engaged.

“While we have the universities and institutions training people in different skills, we also need to know exactly what the sectors need. We need skilled workforce in special areas but it’s difficult to find most often and that’s why you find most large companies looking overseas for manpower. That’s why the city Chamber of Commerce has made it a priority to have capacity development units.”