By Sunday Elijah, LAGOS
Nigeria says it is currently working with United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the private sector to establish a Tourism Academy in Lagos.
The Academy is to provide vocational and managerial transformative training for the tourism and hospitality sector.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this known Friday in Lagos, at the graduation of
the first set of trainees of the Terra Kulture-owned Terra Academy For the Arts (TAFTA).
“We are very keen to expand the opportunities available to our youths through training. I am therefore happy to announce that we are currently working with the UNWTO and some private sector players to establish a Tourism Academy in Nigeria.
“This initiative was launched and approved during the global conference on Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industry held in Lagos last November.
“In recognition of our country’s giant strides in the Creative Industry, Nigeria was chosen as one of the two countries in Africa to host the Academy,” he said,
He added that the UNWTO also plans to work with Nollywood to positively change Africa’s image.
Mohammed said the Tourism Academy will be complemented by organizations such as TAFTA to train Nigerian youths on how to be gainfully employed through their creative abilities.
“With TAFTA targeting 65,000 youths between the ages of 16 and 35 for training in the next five years, I can say without equivocation that TAFTA is contributing its own quota – and it’s a huge quota – to efforts to solve the youth unemployment problem in Nigeria,” he said.
The Minister praised the founder of TAFTA, Bolanle Austen-Peters, whom he said has excelled in the Performing Arts, and in movies, and was involved in discovering, nurturing, exposing and projecting talent from Nigeria through Terra Kulture since 2003.
He expressed delight that Mrs. Austen-Peters has now deemed it fit to establish TAFTA, an online academy set up to create a platform for indigent youths to learn technical skills in the areas of light design, sound design, animation and script writing, among others.
Mohammed expressed delight that Mrs. Austen-Peters, who is the Provost of TAFTA and the Founder of Terra Kulture, has decided to extend her attainment of excellence in the performing arts and movie production to the training of youths to prepare them for gainful employment.
“Who can ever forget ‘Saro the Musical’, the premiere of which I watched live in London; ‘Wakaa’ or ‘The Kalakuta Queens’, also musicals, just to name a few? I recall that ‘The Kalakuta Queens’ was performed for a global audience when Nigeria hosted the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for Africa meeting in Abuja in 2018.
“Those who watched that performance were so dazzled that they have continued to talk about it to this day,” he said.
The Minister pledged the partnership of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture with TAFTA to extend the invaluable training of youths in the creative sector across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
He added that when vacancies are available, TAFTA graduates can be recruited by some of the parastatals under the ministry, while the Academy can also help train some of staffers of the ministry, especially the great talents in the National Troupe of Nigeria.
He congratulated TAFTA for the successful graduation of the first set 3,750 trainees, and admonished the trainees to take advantage of the opportunity offered to them by TAFTA.