The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Umaru, said it is collaborating with Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Bank of Industry to provide entrepreneurship and vocational skills for the youths.
Umaru made the disclosure in Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory, at the graduation ceremony of trainees of the first batch of the 2016 National industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP).
Umaru, represented by Mr David Ozigi, Director, Engineering, Technology and Infrastructure with SMEDAN, said the programme was to build a bridge over the gap that existed between employers and job seekers.
“The various skills you have acquired are in consonance with the priority sectors needed to rejuvenate the economy and help us intensify the “Made in Nigeria’’ campaign.
“These include agri-business, fabrication, Information Communication technology, wood-work, building technology, electrical and electronics, leather work, textile, garment, fashion designing, hospitality business, among others,’’ he said.
Umaru advised the participants to put into practice on what they learnt and build on it by seeking business advice at any of the agency’s offices.
He said the basic information and knowledge required to kick-start and manage a successful business was provided for the participants.
According to him, the agency will link them up with credible partners and mentors that will impact positively on their proposed businesses.
Umaru said the agency would soon commence open air business clinics where all regulatory agencies would be present to diagnose and solve most entrepreneurship problems.
Also, Mr Joseph Ari, Director-General, ITF, said the centre has trained 10,100 youths in technical and vocational skills in 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Ari, represented by Usman Gaji, ITF Area Manager, Abuja Area Office said “The first phase of the programme commenced on Dec. 3, 2012, and has continued in subsequent phases in all states and FCT.
“It has produced 74,000 in technical and vocational skills for a minimum of three months in different trade areas.
“Today, we are witnessing the closing ceremony of the first batch of year 2016 NISDP, which was implemented simultaneously in 18 states and the FCT.
“A total of 500 youths were trained per state and 1,100 in Borno to cater for the large numbers of Internally Displaced Persons in the state,’’ he said.
Ari said to properly address wealth creation and poverty reduction, Nigeria must tackle some of the social economic vices, such as kidnappings, high profile assassination, armed robberies, religious intolerance and terrorism.
He said technical and vocational skills acquisition was a veritable strategy for deploying sustainable solutions to address social-economic vices.
In his address, Shaban Awudu, Etsu of Kwali, advised the participants to be good ambassadors of change in the areas where they lived.
Awudu said “if the country can address unemployment and youth restiveness, we will have a better Nigeria.’’
He urged the participants to develop themselves to better their lives and contribute to the development of the country.
“Please don’t wait for time because tomorrow may not come, add different innovation to what you have learned to encourage people patronize your products more,’’ Awudu said.
Some of the participants appealed to the organisers to ensure that the token promised them would be made available.
A participant, Miss Charity Udo, said she would use the N15, 000 that would be given to her to start her catering services.
Udo said she believed the money would go a long way to better her life.
“It is good to think big but start small because little drops make an ocean. So, I will use the N15,000 the organisers would give to complement our transportation to start up something,’’ she said.
Also, Mr Abel Thomas, said the time for the training was not enough for one to learn skills, such as building technology and electrical and electronics.
Thomas advised that more time should be allocated to practical than theory.
Another participant, Mr Ibrahim Usman, appealed to the agencies to assist participants obtain grants to set up businesses.