The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) says it has spent more than N1billion on students and supervisory allowances on the Students’ Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) programme.

The ITF Director-General, Mr Joseph Ari, made this known on Tuesday in Jos at the 2017 Merit award of the Fund.

He said that the programme was part of efforts to encourage technical and vocational education.

“ITF disbursed a total of N1.2 billion as SIWES allowances for students and their supervisors in 310 tertiary institutions in the country.’’

He said that the objective of the programme was to avail the students practical experience to exercise knowledge acquired in technical, engineering, science and vocational courses.

“The fund has trained more than 200 teachers in Government Science School, Kuru, and St. Joseph’s Vianney Minor Seminary to update their skills and also donated desks and chairs to them.

“We also commissioned a sick bay at St. John Vianney School and recently donated an ICT centre comprising 25 desktop computers and a standby generator to Government Technical College, Bukuru.’’

In his remarks, Gov. Simon Lalong commended ITF for training more than 1,000 Plateau youths through the National Industrial Skills Acquisition Programme, adding that state sponsored additional 200 people.

“I commend ITF for donating two boreholes to communities in Hwolshe and Rantya and also installing Automated Teller Machines at their headquarters to service members of its host communities,’’ Lalong said.

Earlier in her remarks, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Investment, congratulated the award recipients for their contributions to the successes of ITF in 2017.

She said that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was committed to diversifying the nation’s economy and tackling corruption and unemployment in the country.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lalong received an award as the best in governance while Lagos Island Office was declared the best ITF area office among many other award recipients.