By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Ogun State Deputy Governor, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, has described skills acquisition as the most enduring solution at tackling the problem of poverty and unemployment.
She warned of an alarming increase in the rate of unemployment in the country, due to the downturn in the economy occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Salako-Oyedele who made this known in her address at the closing ceremony of the 2020 National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), held at the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Abeokuta, added that not all unemployed youths will get a full-time white-collar job, hence the need to acquire vocational skills.
The deputy governor said as part of its efforts at curbing the high rate of unemployment in the state, the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration launched the Ogun job portal as well as provide organizations a pool to seek for employable and underemployed in the state.
“Here in Ogun State, we are taking proactive steps to ensure that our state is not left behind in equipping the youths with requisite skills for self-reliance and sustainability by collaborating with relevant organisations such as ITF, National Bureau of Employment, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
“His Excellency also launched OG-YES which will provide the youth with apprenticeship opportunities in trades like carpentry, masonry, and other artisan skills,” she said.
While urging the beneficiaries who have been trained in fashion designing, ICT/Computer Programming and Cosmetology from across the state to make good use of the life challenging opportunity provided for them, she appealed to ITF to provide post-graduation monitoring and mentoring to the beneficiaries to ensure the sustainability of new ventures created.
The Director-General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, represented by the Director, Research and Curriculum Development Department, Mr Zachariah Piwuna, commended the state government for the support, saying it has motivated the agency to improve on its various empowerment programmes from which indigenes of the state have also benefitted.
Sir Ari said that the 105 state indigenes were trained in Fashion Design and garment making, Cosmetology and Information Communication Technology (ICT), adding that to be able to train more youths to make them employable, the government and stakeholders must collaborate with the agency to build the youths and develop the economy.
In her welcome remarks, the Area Manager and the Deputy Director, Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Abeokuta Office, Mrs Funmi Coker, said ITF which is the foremost capacity development agency in the country has trained successfully trained 105 individuals across the state in order to reduce unemployment, poverty and curb youth restiveness and insecurity.