Preparing youths for the future
The Lagos State Government is promotingcooperation and business relationships in vocational training and continuing education to boost entrepreneurship and job creation, writes DANIEL ESSIET.
HIGH quality vocational education and training enjoy a high degree of esteem worldwide.
In Lagos State, there are hundreds of providers of initial and continuing vocational training, offering state-of-the-art technologies and high-class craftsmanship.
They are supporting the state government in the fight against skills shortage.The range of their services include craft trades, commercial and technical training provision.
There are also international firms, chambers and industry federations and associations.
Speaking in Lagos, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, said there were various plans and schemes dedicated to achieving scalable skilling with quality and higher productivity.
She said the state had the potential to bounce back after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, she added that it would not happen unless skills were developed on a large scale, such that it outweighs challenges.
Mrs. Arobieke said skills were the new currency and there was a need to address industries’ struggle for job-ready youths by helping them to develop the technical and professional skills needed for competitive jobs.
She said various stakeholders sought to cooperate with the government to prepare young Nigerians for life.
She added that the government was introducing programmes aimed at skilling the youth in this technological age and holding them to match their capabilities with the needs of the industry.
To provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for Lagos residents, Mrs. Arobieke said the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States African Development Fund (USADF) to support 15,000 youths. Through the MoU, both parties will provide $2 million yearly for five years to provide skill development and internship for youths.
According to her, each trainee will also be eligible for an internship of up to six months, with the expectation that this results in a sustainable job opportunity and helps trainees transit into entrepreneurs, if they so desire.
She noted that the current situation pointed to a need for more robust ecosystems to support small businesses and their production, jobs and livelihoods and societal welfare.
To this end, the government is establishing industrial hubs that target clusters in leather, wood and fish preservation with the intention to promote production of finished good.
Mrs. Arobieke said the government was taking actions to fuel the transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) toward digitalisation.
She stressed that the state economy had unimaginable opportunities for small businesses.
In realisation of this, she said the ministry and LSETF had rolled out programmes to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on enterprises, employment and income, stimulate the economy and protect and create jobs.
She noted: “LSETF loan beneficiaries can apply for a moratorium on their loan repayments. For the avoidance of doubt, only performing loan beneficiaries with past due obligations of not more than 60 days can apply.”
The measure will enable the concerned SMEs to access financial resources to enhance their operations, she added.
Preparing youths for the future