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International Journal of Advanced Research in Management and Social Sciences
Year : 2019, Volume : 8, Issue : 9
First page : ( 98) Last page : ( 130)
Online ISSN : 2278-6236.

Reinventing the ‘Nwaboi'Apprenticeship system: A platform for entrepreneurship promotion in Nigeria

Henry Ejo-Orusa1, Lloyd Mpi Destiny2

1(PHD), Department of Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

2Department of Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Online published on 5 December, 2019.


The Nwaboi Apprenticeship System is by far the most entrenched and vibrant entrepreneurship promotion vehicle in Nigeria and it plays a major role in the growth and development of micro, small and medium scale enterprises. The system is a big driver for wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction and thus economic growth and development. The paper starts with a brief historical background and it is contended that the system is strongly rooted in Igbo culture. There are basically two major types of ‘the Nwaboi apprenticeship system: ‘Imu-Oru Aka’ (Learning a craft or skill) and ‘Imu-Ahia’ (Learning to trade) and the scope is wide; ranging from all kinds of trading to various crafts and skills. The system is very informal, not integrated with the organized private sector and virtually outside the ambit of government oversight and support. However, in a bid to tackle the growing rate of youth and graduate unemployment, the Nigerian government took an unusual positive step and established the National Directorate of Employment in 1987 to equip young people with marketable skills that will help them to become employable or self-employed. Unfortunately, like many government initiatives in Nigeria that are prone to inconsistency and short life cycle, most if not all the programmes put in place as part of the NDE initiative are now either not functional or on the verge of becoming moribund. Some of the challenges facing the Nwaboi Apprenticeship System are explored while recommendations on how the system can be improved and reinvented for the 21st Century include the realignment of the anti-industry dimensions of entrepreneurial ecosystem to promote the embedding of the enterprise culture; provision of physical, scientific and technological infrastructure; the establishment of a good legal framework to guide and formalize the system; establishment of entrepreneurship development and skills acquisition centres to promote the training and development of apprentices on basic and technological literacy and on entrepreneurship skill-sets such as technical, management and entrepreneurship skills and the promotion of linkage with well managed local organizations and multinational corporations. The paper concludes that the Nwaboi Apprenticeship System has the potential to significantly increase the level of entrepreneurial metabolism and to stimulate the rate and pace of new venture creation and thus a viable platform for entrepreneurship promotion in Nigeria.



Nwaboi Apprenticeship System, Entrepreneurship Triangle, We Work, Co-creation Hub (CcHUB).


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