The National Directorate of Employment's Open Apprenticeship Scheme in Nigeria: New wine in old wineskins?
Purpose - The paper aims to review the National Open Apprenticeship Scheme and how it has fulfilled its mandate of promoting skill acquisition and youth employment in Nigeria, in the 17 years since the inception of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). Design/methodology/approach - Site visits to trainers' workshops were carried out to observe the programme in practice and examine documents and annual report(s) made available at the NDE Office in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Findings - The paper finds that master craftsmen and women operate both the traditional apprenticeship system and the NDE scheme using the same training methods. It reveals that there are no Saturday Theory classes due to lack of funds. It also finds that apprentices have low educational background, no evaluation and certification at the end of training; they get an equivalent of about 3 a month and are paid in arrears of three to six months. It is found that there is a shortage of tools and drop-out rate is high. Research limitations/implications - The latest annual report available was for year 2000, which may not be very current. The paper focuses on only one out of 36 states, although the programme is centrally controlled from Abuja, Nigeria's capital and may have similar features. Practical implications - The paper provides insight for stake-holders involved in providing vocational skills geared towards solving unemployment problems in Nigeria. Originality/value - There is a dearth of literature in the area of vocational skills in Nigeria. This paper tries to contribute to the body of knowledge in this area, especially after 17 years of NDE existence.