The Management of Nigeria’s National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), early last week, commenced the pilot-phase implementation of training, upskilling and empowerment of indigent youths and women, under the STEP project. The Institute had a few months ago announced an initiative called Sustainable Tourism EntreprenuershipProgramme (STEP).
The management of NIHOTOUR had revealed that the STEP project will stimulate tourism entrepreneurial growth and sustainable development of Nigeria’s tourist host communities. The STEP project is now being implemented across the six geopolitical zones, starting from December 5th 2022, through the end of the year and the new year 2023.
The pilot phase of the STEP project is providing fully-funded hands-on training of displaced youths and women in the making of Throw-Pillows and Duvets, being pasts of the hospitality industry value-chain and tradecraft. A total of one hundred and fifty youths and women were trained and empowered in NIHOTOUR campuses including Enugu, Benin, Lagos, Bauchi, Abuja and Argungu in Kebbi State.
The Director General of NIHOTOUR, Nura Sani Kangiwa, spoke with reporters in Abuja, during the STEP training on Throw-pillows and Duvets, which was held at the head office of the Institute in Abuja. The DG explained that the pilot phase of the STEP training programme includes hospitality-trade up-skilling in Soap Making and the sustainability of start-up businesses in the sector. He assured that the training on Soap Making will be held, in the coming weeks, at the twelve NIHOTOUR Campuses and Training Centres across Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the Management of NIHOTOUR, led by the Director General, had announced that the STEP program is a novel concept of tourist host community poverty reduction and manpower development. The STEP project is designed to train, equip and mentor trainees on hands-on skills and entrepreneurial capacities for the successful operation of small businesses (start-ups)inNigeria’sTourism and Hospitality industry value chain.
A statement posted on the STEP website stipulated that the “STEP willinvolveintense’learning-by-doing’ curricula where trainees will learn tourism orHospitalityproduct development, services operation and the nitty-gritty of setting up their personal business at the expiration of the programme.” The STEP website also identified eligible beneficiaries for training women – single, married or widowed; vulnerable youths – who are either orphans, abandoned or school drop-outs; physically challenged Persons; Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); unemployed youths and jobless graduates with tertiary institutions.
The National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOTOUR), is the apex parastatal in Nigeria’s Ministry of Information & Culture, engaged in Training, Consultancy, Research and Publications, in order to promote skills development and entrepreneurship programmes for the industry. Since its inception in 1987, following a tripartite agreement involving the Federal Government of Nigeria, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Organisation, the Institute has played pivotal roles in building Tourism and Hospitality entrepreneurial ecosystem through various tailor-made Entrepreneurship Development programmes.
NIHOTOUR is also the coordinating agency for the operation of the Hospitality and Tourism Sector Skills Council of Nigeria (HTSSCN), a strictly private sector-driven engagements platform for the sector professional associations, unions, employers, stakeholders and major players to meet demand skills gaps for standards, quality service delivery, improved productivity and contribution to the national economy.