On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, officially launched a programme to train three million technical talent (3MTT) by 2027 under the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy (FMCIDE).
The goal is to create a pipeline of technical talents across Nigeria to close the global workforce gap and help President Tinubu achieve his vision of creating 2 million digital jobs in his first two years in office. With Nigeria’s unemployment rate projected to hit 40.6%, 3MTT is a step in the right direction.
Here are six questions people have been asking about the programme.
How will the 3MTT programme be carried out?
The 3MTT programme will be in three phases, following FMCIDE’s 1%-10%-100% implementation strategy.
Phase one (Prototyping) will comprise 72 hours of learning over three months and train 30,000 technical talents, accounting for 1% of the total target.
The next phase (Piloting) will cater to more applicants adding up to 300,000 fellows, making up 10% of the three million target, while Scaling – the last stage – will make up the rest.
Will the FMCIDE work alone on this programme?
There are four stakeholders involved in 3MTT.
- Fellows: technical trainees who get into the 3MTT programme.
- Training Providers: duly registered organisations selected to teach the fellows.
- Placement Organisations: entities that provide facilities for fellows to learn and practice.
- Partners: institutions that provide aid in one form or another, such as IHS Towers, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nigeria, and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
How many people applied for phase one?
Between Friday, October 13, 2023, when applications for phase one opened and when it closed less than a month later, 1.52 million people applied.
With a record 162,750, Kano led the application pool as the state with the highest number of entries. Lagos came third with 87,108 applications. While 1,090,060 men applied, only 432,920 women submitted applications.
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Of the 1.52 million people who applied, 524,956 were unemployed, and another 468,968 were students, leaving 520,000 self-employed, part-time employed, and full-time employed fellows.
Furthermore, only 120 training providers got into phase one of the programme. Verification is ongoing, and FMCIDE will approve training providers on a rolling basis. Those who didn’t make it into phase one might get into future phases.
How many courses are available in the programme?
Phase one of the programme will focus on these 12 technical skills:
- Software Development
- UI/UX Design
- Data Analysis & Visualisation
- Quality Assurance
- Product Management
- Data Science
- AI/Machine Learning
- Game Development
- Cloud Computing
At 353,189 applications, Software Development is the most sought-after course in phase one. It’s followed closely by Cybersecurity (286,471) and Product Management (268,996).
Will the FMCIDE or its partners provide laptops for fellows?
Beyond the cost of training, the Ministry will neither offer financial support nor provide fellows with laptops. Participants will be responsible for transportation, meals, and other expenses throughout the programme.
The Ministry will, however, work with partners to provide internship opportunities and support to obtain loans to buy laptops. An example is NITDA working with UNDP Nigeria to offer 3,000 paid internship opportunities to trainees in the 3MTT programme.
How will the fellows learn; remote, in-person, or hybrid?
The FMCIDE approved hybrid learning for phase one. Learning for fellows in this phase already began on December 4, 2023.
On the one hand, the programme will adopt self-paced, structured online training from selected training providers and on the other hand, there will be weekly meetings where fellows will meet with training partners to apply what they've learnt. In all, fellows are required to commit a total of 72 hours of learning for the three months.
During this prototyping phase, the in-person meetings will be in small learning groups known as clusters in the 3MTT learning community across 74 local government areas in 16 states, including the FCT, for fellows in the same area learning the same course. In addition to the structured online content and in-person meetups, fellows will also have access to community managers and mentors.
These clusters will also be open to those who did not get into phase one of the 3MTT programme, thus supporting their learning and getting carried along. But it’s not clear how the FMCIDE plans to integrate them into the clusters without impeding fellows’ progress. Hopefully, this will become clearer as phase one of the programme progresses.
One question remains unanswered
Is the 3MTT programme the respite that many Nigerians have been waiting for?
With the 30,000 fellows for phase one selected, Nigerians wait with bated breath for this question to be answered.