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SMEDAN gives lifeline to 90 youths on skills acquisition in Kogi



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***distributes starter packs

90 youths in Kogi, have been empowered on Skills acquisition by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the one-week empowerment on Friday in Lokoja, the Director General of SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said the programme was under the National Business Skills Development Initiative (NBSDI).

Fasanya, who was represented by the North Central Coordinator of SMEDAN, Mrs Charity Abuh, said the NBSDI is one of SMEDAN’s numerous programmes targeted at empowering entrepreneurs.

”We have been here training and empowering the beneficiary for the past one week in both entrepreneurship and skills development.

”We have chosen three skills’ trade, which include Laundering, Leather work and Fashion design, and we have selected 90 participants across the three senatorial districts of Kogi State,” he said.

The director general noted that all the States of the federation including FCT are participating in the empowerment programme and the entrepreneurship development.

According to him, the purpose is to enhance the capacity of the participants and help them with a starter pack in the three skills.

He said the empowerment would enable the participants to contribute their quota positively to the economy of Kogi and the nation at large.

He said the programme is organised annually which started last year, promising that 2023 will be greater than 2022.

Fasanya advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the equipment given to them, saying there would be follow-up to ensure compliance.

Items given were Washing Machine and Pressing Iron for those who did Laundering, and industrial sewing machines for those that did fashion and leather work.

Earlier, the Training Manager, Industrial Skills Training Centre, Lokoja, Mr Moses Onuche, urged the participants to start utilising their starter pack.

He stressed that no amount of capital would be too small to start any business, and urged them to start with what they have to build their businesses.

The training manager urged the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of SMEDAN, Kogi and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Onuche encouraged them to help government to create jobs saying it is the organised private sector that drive the economy.

Some of the participants, Abdulkadir Muhammed from Lokoja, Musa Monsur from Ijumu, Aminat Abdulmumeen from Okene, and Memunat Umar from Dekina, all expressed their excitement over empowerment.

They thanked SMEDAN and the Federal Government for the gesture, and promised to make good use of the machines to better their lives and contribute their quota to the nation’s development

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Graduate Unemployment: Fikpo Urges Varsities to Partner NDE




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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo has called on universities to leverage on the Directorate’s experiences in job counseling and entrepreneurship mentorship to prepare their graduates for the real world.

Fikpo disclosed this at the Federal University Lokoja (FUL) Public Lecture themed, “The Role of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in Preparing Nigerian Undergraduates for the Larger Society.”

He said that over the years, the Directorate had garnered field experiences in job counseling and entrepreneurship mentorship, which the Universities’ Entrepreneurship Development Centers could leverage on.

The Director General said it is now mandatory, as enshrined in the National Policy on Education for each student at all educational levels, to acquire a skill at one skill-set before graduation.

Fikpo noted that the transition from undergraduate education to the broader societal landscape presents numerous challenges for the undergraduate while undertaking his or her academic activities.

He revealed that the Directorate against this backdrop, recognized the importance of equipping undergraduates with practical skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Director General commended the Vice Chancellor of FUL, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi for establishing a Directorate of Entrepreneurship Studies and Skill Acquisition, in the University describing the effort as very proactive and thinking ahead for the students.

FIKPO held that the NDE as a pivotal institution within the National development framework of Nigeria, had emerged as a key player in facilitating their transition from undergraduate (environment and mind set) to the larger society (real world).

According to him, Its mandate often encompasses the provision of employment opportunities, Vocational and Technical skill acquisition and Entrepreneurship development.

Others are Agribusiness promotion as well as Public Infrastructure maintenance and rehabilitation programmes for unemployed citizens, particularly the youth and undergraduates.

Fikpo said that in this Postindustrial society, digital inclusivity has become imperative to all (whether unschooled, school leavers, undergraduates and graduates of tertiary institutions).

He called for an alignment of the National Information Technology Policy with the National Policy on Education and the need to develop standard ICT curriculum for schools (All education levels).

The NDE DG charged graduates to acquire skills saying, “In the 21st Century, an illiterate is not somebody who cannot read or write, but somebody who cannot avail him/her self of the opportunities of acquiring relevant skills for self-reliance.

Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, Vice Chancellor of University, earlier in his welcome address solicited positive collaboration with the NDE to create a seamless transition for graduates from the academic to the real world for them to excel in their chosen fields.

The Vice Chancellor said it was against this backdrop that the institution’s management established the Directorate of Entrepreneurship Studies and Skill Acquisition from inception of his administration with a policy slogan, “No skills, no graduation.”

He described the theme of the Public Lecture as apt, saying, “Today’s topic, ‘The Role of National Directorate of Employment in Preparing Nigerian Undergraduates for the Larger Society,’ could not be more pertinent.

“In a rapidly changing world, the transition from academia to the professional world is often challenging for many young graduates.

“However, with the right guidance, support, and opportunities, our graduates can become effective contributors to society.”

Prof. Akinwumi noted that the NDE plays a crucial role in the transition process through its various programmes and initiatives.

“Through its various programmes and initiatives, it equips young Nigerians with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to thrive in the workforce and make meaningful contributions to the development of our nation.

“As Vice-Chancellor, I firmly believe that collaboration between academic institutions and organizations like the NDE is essential in ensuring the holistic development of our students.

“By working together, we can create a seamless transition for our graduates and empower them to excel in their chosen fields”, he said. (Ends)

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US based Pastor doles out scholarship to 300 students in Niger




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***Carpets FG over students loan scheme

The general overseer of the Glory House City Church, Atlanta Georgia United States of America, Pastor Chuzzy Udenwa has given scholarships to 300 students drawn from various high institutions of learning in Niger state to support their education.
The beneficiaries were picked from eight tertiary instructions in the state which include Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State Polytechnic Zungeru, Niger State college of education, Federal Polytechnic Bida, Justice Fati Lami school of legal studies, Minna and Newgate University of Medical Sciences, Minna.
48 beneficiaries received instant cash of N50, 000 to support their education while the remaining ones were given different categories of scholarships.
The scholarships were given to the benefiting students during the two day Niger Inter Campus Fire Crusade organized by the Glory City Campus Fellowship Nigeria at the Niger State College of Education Minna, the state capital at the weekend.
Speaking at the well attended Niger Campus Fire Crusade, Pastor Udenwa said the decision to invade the Nigerian campuses for the crusade which has taken him to five states so far and Abuja was borne out of the need to pray for Nigerian students because of the evils that have taken over the campuses in Nigerian.
In addition to this, he pointed out that there is the urgent need to give back to the society through sponsorship of students who are at the verge of being thrown out of school due to lack of sponsorship.
According to him “there are a lot of evil in our campuses today that have pushed our children into cultism, drug abuse, Internet frauds, armed robbery, prostitution among others. We need to pray for these students.
“If you want to rebuild Nigeria today, you don’t start with the elders, you start with the students who are the leaders of tomorrow and you can only achieve this through engaging them, that is what informed the campus fire crusade.
“While we pray for them, we also give them financial supports in terms of scholarships to help those who can not meet up with their school fees. We give some financial supports and others full scholarships”.
He disclosed that 30,000 students across six states of Enugu, Anambara, Imo, Niger, Ekiti and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have benefited from the scholarship programme, adding that each of the crusades cost the ministry well over $30,000 aside the scholarship.
This according to him includes the transportation to and from the venue, feeding and hotel accomodations of students who traveled from a far distance.
Speaking on the federal government students loan scheme, Pastor Udenwa dismissed the loan scheme saying that such initiative will not work because the targeted beneficiaries will have no means of paying back the loan.
“Are you going to arrest the parents who did not have money to pay their children school fees in the first place, or are you going to arrest the students who don’t have job after graduation”, he queried.
He argued that “when you throw money at the students in the name of loan without changing their mindset it will be a waste of resources because they will see it as their own share of the national cake. It will not yield any impact.
“The system has affected the psych of the students, so you need to change their psych and way of thinking and mindset. There is so much corruption in the system, so such initiative will not work”, he added.
Pastor Udenwa said that it is high time the government hands off education and allow private individuals and institutions run the educational system while it plays a supervisory role, stressing that “in the western world, education is for the private individuals, sometimes it is a joint venture”.
He however warned that Nigeria must do something very quickly about growing population of its youths, adding that the country will soon explode if nothing is done about the students who graduate every year without jobs.

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FG to train 5m Nigerians annually to curb unemployment, poverty – Presidency




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The federal government has outline strategic plan aimed at creating job opportunities for five million Nigerians with various artisanal skills annually.

In the same vein it also also mbarking on the training of 500 inmates in all the Correctional Custodial Centres across the country, even as the beneficiaries will be granted N500,000 to start a business after the training.

Speaking with newsmen, Wednesday in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurial Education, Abiola Arogundade, said the initiative is targeted at reducing down the 133 million Nigerians living below the poverty line.

She explained that the initiative which entails collaboration with various countries, educational and financial institutions in the country would expose beneficiaries to the acquisition of artisanal skills that would not make them self relating but would be a source of earning the country the much sought after foreign exchange.

Arogundade explained that already her outfit has trained no more than 500 inmates in each of the correctional centres spread across the country in line with the objective.
“We’ve also started training in the correctional centres. We launched the scheme in Kuje. We took a few members from my office to the correctional centre to do an audit of the needs of the inmates.
“I’m happy to announce that we started conducting the assessment and auditing of the trainees. And I am happy to announce that every single person that we train there is also going to be certified.

“They will not be left behind. It’s the same curriculum that we have and we are partnering with global bodies to make sure that any skill you acquire in Nigeria is going to be recognised worldwide and we are happy to also announce that we have secured it for every single person in training. 

“At the end of their prison term and our training, we give each of the beneficiaries N500,000 to set up their businesses so they don’t become a second-time offender at a correctional centre. This scheme is ongoing. 

“So after Kuje Correctional Centre, we are moving to Suleja. We are going to try and duplicate this intervention in all our correctional centres across the country. 

“There are two dimensions to the training, we will be training artisans to build and we are going to employ them. We are also training the beneficiaries. “For example, if you are going to be a hairdresser, we train you on how to have the best skills in hairdressing. We empower you with the kiosk. Not only that, the kiosk will have three streams of income.
“You can use the kiosk for your main skill which in this case as I mentioned, will be hairdressing, you can use it for POS business and other ventures. 

“So we are partnering with the bank. They will supply the POS and also you can use it to charge phones. We are using that as a multi-purpose intervention for three streams of income which we are launching today and we will be giving it out to the beneficiaries after we train and certify them.

“We also want to announce that we will be starting the programme which we call MYTV videos. Online we told people to send a one-minute video on what their skills are. Once you upload your video, we train you.
“We are happy to announce that we got over 10,000 entries and we are at the stage where we are picking 2000 people to go through the free training. Part of the curriculum of the free training for your assessment is to write a business plan. Those who write a good business plan will be granted N500,000 to continue and upscale their business. 

“We are also working with the Bank for Industry.  We are working on something called training for Industries.
“Like I said before, our methodology is backward integration, so we are working with the Bank of Industry, to work with the private sector and we are training people to make sure they have the right skills that the industries are looking for. So we have started that assessment as well.

“We have had meetings with different ambassadors.  So what we are trying to do is to work with multinationals. Sometimes they complain about our citizens not having the skills.”

Speaking on the idea of introducing compulsory skill acquisition for Secondary School leavers, the presidential aide said: “I am in talks with the Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Polytechnic, Vocational and Technical Schools and we have being talking on how to introduce one skill for Senior Secondary School so that you come out with one skill and get even get certified. We started doing some research, so it’s something we think it’s important. It’s still work in progress.”

While revealing its collaborations with the Bank for Industry (BoI), Industrial Training Fund (IDF), Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP), National Board for Technical Education (NBTC), Private Sector and others, Arogundade revealed an ongoing program tagged “The unlock program” aimed at empowering youths and guiding them on creating commercial and sustainable businesses.

She said: “We told people to send a one-minute video on what their skills are. Once you upload your video, we train you, we are happy to announce that we got over 10,000 entries and we are at the stage where we are picking 2000 people to go through the free training. Part of the curriculum of the free training for your assessment is to write a business plan.
“Those who write a good business plan will be granted N500,000 to continue and upscale their business.”

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