The handbook titled Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment Programmes (The International Centre for Sustainable Development, Lagos; 2017) by Benjamin Onoriode Irikefe is out.
It is one of the first holistic books published on skill acquisition and empowerment worldwide. Most works on bookstands across the globe centred on skill acquisition are vocation-based, but this 824 page book is structured into five parts that lucidly expose the “quadrant of skill acquisition” and empowerment concepts.
Part one covers Skill Acquisition and its associated foundational concepts. It comprises of two chapters that provide a practical background to the quadrant.
Part two covers entrepreneurship and soft skills for business success. This part has two chapters that respectively covered entrepreneurship development and soft and life skills for personal and business success from author’s field experience angle.
Part three covers critical considerations, which are associated with successful training execution. These include training actualization framework, starter packs and associated concepts, post training mentorship and management of unusual training situations; without which skill acquisition and empowerment programmes cannot yield positive results.
Part four tackles the reintegration and empowerment of sub-state groups such as ex-militants, Civilian (JTF) Joint Task Force Members and Repentant Nigerian Ex-Boko Haram Operatives.
Part five which is the concluding part of the book talked about the consideration of critical success entities, proposed interventions from Skill Acquisition to Post Training Empowerment through institutional collaborations.
The book is a product of over twenty-five years of the author’s involvement in training of Ex-Militant and Non-Militant Youths and persons; amnesty programme activities; and general skill acquisition training and mentoring programmes. Practical demonstration of concepts, which gives a vivid account of the author’s experiences and activities, are the unique features of this book. The recommendations therein are capable of solving numerous societal problems and stands as reference material for academic pursuits.
The book elucidates the following key elements of Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment Programmes amongst others: A holistic Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment Programme should comprise of four components namely: Vocation Specific Training; Soft and Life Skills Training; Entrepreneurship Development Training; and Post-Training Empowerment. This is what the author has enunciated as the “Quadrant of Skill Acquisition”.
Starter Packs for beneficiaries of skill acquisition training programmes should be provided and made available to trainees before they exit their trainings and specific training in the usage and application of the Starter Packs should be taught to them as well.
Vocational and technical education should be taught alongside and within conventional academic curriculums so that graduates can be equipped with vocation specific trades with which they can eke out a living, after graduation.
Graduates Enskillment Programmes should be undertaken to help graduates of tertiary institutions unlock their creative and vocational potentials so that they can be involved in vocation specific trades or MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) that can help them eke out a living.
Operationalisation and reporting templates are needed for effective and successful training programmes (over 100 templates are provided in this book). Continuous provisions are needed to re-integrate and empower Ex-Militants, Civilian JTF (Joint Task Force) Members and Deradicalised Nigerian repentant Ex-Boko Haram Operatives to enable them lead self-reliant, productive and wholesome livelihoods.
Critical success entities must consolidate their interventions from skill acquisition up to post-training empowerment through institutional collaborations to lift MSMEs and artisanal training outfits & artisans.
Trainers’ qualities of being proactive, accommodating and passionate when managing Trainees and also avoid monetization of training programmes should be their target.
Provision of skill acquisition trainings is one of the time-honoured programmes that can be effective in combating global insecurity, poverty and to prevent destabilization of the international system.
The above features are vividly and practically explained to equip trainees, trainers, mentors, mentees, and other stakeholders who wish to venture into skill acquisition training and empowerment programmes.
It is however, a good resource and tool for the nation and the world at large, especially in this critical economic period if the relevant authorities adopt the prescriptions.