IT specialist and founder of A+ Computer Training Technology Limited, an IT skills training centre based in Jos, Plateau State, Chief Koppe Sylvanus Joseph FIMC, shares insights with IT Edge News.Africa, TRACY YEKAGHE, on how ICT truly enables economic growth while also acting as a catalyst for human capital development , job opportunity, financial stability, wealth creation, and the management of epidemic diseases amongst others. Established in 2009, the company has trained over 6,802 individuals on various ICT programs; and over 1,556 youths are already beneficiaries of the company’s free ICT skills training program. Joseph insists that government must work with private sector to continuously grow the tech sector.
How does ICT enable human capacity development?
I think there is a lot that needs to be done as far as human capacity development in ICT is concerned. Although, there currently exist a great number of platforms right now in which more individuals can learn and unlearn. Most people use smartphones but they are not smart enough to ensure that they are the ones in charge of the smart phones or smart gadgets to carry out some of these learnings within the confines of the environment they find themselves.
Also, in the tech ecosystem, there are a lot of organisations that equally provide some form of these soft skills on-hand for individuals.
However, the interest, passion, determination and conviction within an individual is what would drive the process.
On the other hand this means that the tech ecosystem is meant to provide that opportunity for youths interested to be able to acquire these skills free of charge where possible.
Could you share more insight on this especially in the context of Nigeria?
Sure! You would agree with me that Nigeria has a very wide labour market which is why if you look at it, most of these big tech companies or organisations view Nigeria as a destination attraction as far as technology is concerned being that we have the population and the fact that so many Nigerians are blessed with the gift and ability to come up with different ideas and innovations. Therefore I am of the opinion that with or without the support of the government, we must all ensure that we – this present generation do all we can to drive this process.
Tell us about your company’s contribution in relation to the IT sector in terms of impact?
First and foremost, I am currently the State Chairman of Plateau Association of Tech Companies. The tech company I founded is A+ Computer Training Technology which was founded in 2009. Thus far we have trained and successfully graduated 6,702 youths.
Out of the said number of trainees, we have been able to provide onsite and remote employment to 1,655 as part of our give back. This is because we understand that it is not enough to provide training;
To be able to eliminate skill drainage, after training you must make sure that they stand and are adding value since they have acquired relevant skills, identified problems they can solve using the solutions they were exposed to providing during the duration of their training.
Again, in the course of that – we have tried as much as possible, as part of our advocacy and give back to the society, to promote organisations who equally give back to the society as their corporate social responsibility. This is also why me being the state chairman of the association of tech companies in Plateau State, I make bold to say that we have pushed a lot of people forward in respect to developing human capacity in ICT. I was at the Plateau State University the previous day where we have a community of which we have adopted over 256 participants who would be given the opportunity of onsite and remote training. This is part of our give back to the society.
“Most of these big tech companies or organisations view Nigeria as a destination attraction as far as technology is concerned …. Therefore I am of the opinion that with or without the support of the government, we must all ensure that this present generation do all we can to drive this process.”
How would you rate Nigeria’s willingness to increase human capacity development in ICT in order to contribute to strengthening its economy?
In a scale of 1-10, I would give only 2% and by this rating it means it is very poor. Unfortunately, Nigeria seems to be a country where we mostly talk without action which is also very common in the country’s political sphere.
From my own observation it is mostly individuals, business people including other non-governmental organisations that are most deliberate as far as driving the community is concerned. A typical example could be the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), though a government institution but rarely has the capacity to provide training to certain degrees compared to a number of private companies and NGOs. Not forgetting that some of the institutional qualifications required during the recruitment of certain job descriptions in tech are not necessarily done on merit.
Do you have any recommendations?
Yes. One of the recommendations I will give is, if we really want to compete in the global space as far as tech is concerned just like other developed nations like India and the likes, the Nigerian government should be deliberate to consistently work with the private sector; especially those in the sector who are sincere, determined, ready and willing to foster the change in narrative in the tech ecosystem. It is only at that time that Nigeria would be able to compete globally.