Mrs. Susan Seember Iyoryasa, Co-ordinator, North Central Zone of Institute of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN)

Inclusion of prior knowledge in Professional certification in skills and hands-on training has been described as the foremost way of enhancing the workforce and appropriate job placement of personnel in the travel, tourism, hospitality, and related trades sector of the country.

Chief Abiodun Odusanwo, National President of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), who made the assertion over the weekend at the Tourism Round-table Conference and induction of new members for the North Central zone of the Institute held in Makurdi, Benue state, said it is high time Nigeria gave recognition to people with competency acquired outside of the formal learning process otherwise known as ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ (RPL).

The ITPN National President represented by Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Sule, Director of Communication, ITPN said that the vogue now globally, is assessing and grading individuals with competent skills and knowledge acquired through on the job learning and lifetime experiences for certification so that they are not only employable, but are placed on appropriate cadre and paid remuneration commensurate to their skills and certification level.

He noted that ITPN, as the country’s premier awarding body for the travel, tourism, hospitality and related trades and providing qualifications and certifications, will leave no stone unturned in the recognition and utilization of prior learning and skills acquired therefrom to appropriately grade and certify the workforce in the industry.

In a paper titled “Recognition and Certification of Prior Learning: The Way Forward for Hospitality and Tourism in Nigeria” presented by A. M. Sheriff, National Vice President of ITPN at the occasion, stated that human capital is one of the most critical requirements in the development of any tourism destination, noting further that the introduction of Nigeria Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), a system for development, classification and recognition of skills, knowledge and competence acquired by individuals, irrespective of where and how the training or skill was acquired, is a noble initiative.

Sheriff noted that through this process where the learner is enabled to learn, connect and belong to a chosen profession, e.g hospitality, travel and tourism, where most of the employees have acquired unrecognized knowledge and skills on the job, but lacked certification for progression can now be assessed, graded and certified accordingly for proper employment, placement, remuneration and can have career progression professionally.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Coordinator of the North Central zone of ITPN- Makurdi, Mrs. Susan Seember Iyoryasa, noted with pleasure the increasing number of membership of the Institute in the zone, stating that awareness has been created of the importance of proper certification of all practitioners in the industry as well as membership enrolment of the Institute.

While welcoming the new inductees of the Institute, she urged them to be of good ambassadors of ITPN wherever they may find themselves and in the conduct of their businesses and professional callings in travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

In an address he delivered at the occasion, Hon. Mathew Abo, Benue state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, reiterated the commitment of the Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia’s administration in developing the tourism sector of the state for sustainable economic growth and development.

He said in addition to being the food basket of the country, Benue state is blessed with abundant tourism potentials which the present administration of the state is prepared to harness for the socio-economic good of the people.

In their respective Goodwill messages at the event, both the Benue state Commissioner of Police, Mr. George Chuku and the State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Mr. Yakubu Ibrahim, said security is a critical aspect of tourism of which they are prepared at all time to safe guard the lives and property of visitors to the state, pointing out that disclosure of vital information by members of the public is important in fighting crime, especially in crime prevention efforts of the two Commands.

The event which was attended by stakeholders and key players in the industry from Plateau, Nasarawa and host state, Benue, witnessed the induction of 22 new members comprising of Students, Associates and Members with the state Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Mathew Abo decorated as an Honourable Member of the Institute.

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