President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration said it is rolling out a new initiative aimed at training and creating employment among the youth within the country’s new power sector.

The initiative, called National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme, will offer training and apprenticeship to people in specific areas of the industry that lack skilled workers such as artisans, linemen, joiners, fitters and machinists to enable them to develop the skills needed in the power sector.

The announcement was made last week by Minister of Power Prof. Chinedu Nebo during an event in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

Prof. Nebo said there’s an urgent need within the sector to find well-trained replacements for retired or outgoing staff, which are estimated at 90 percent of the workforce, but the qualitative skills needed to fill the jobs are currently lacking among the new workforce.

He said the proposed NAPSAS program will use the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) platform to train the youth, who are expected to be trained in their various States.

He added that the program will provide career opportunities for the youth, “who may later become ‘Electroprenuer,’ thereby employing more people into their growing businesses, but also filling the technical gap that could be created if we fail to learn from the mistake in oil and gas sector in which experienced serious gap in local content.”

The apprenticeship is expected to take one year of training, after which they would have enough experience and skill to be employed in the sector. Some are expected to be trained in renewable energy like repairs of solar panels.

The Minister of State, Mohammed Wakil noted that the program will incorporate ICT application as it would guarantee professionalism in the electricity sector.

He also spoke about the need for stakeholders to get it right in terms of human resources that will drive, “Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda for the Power Sector.”