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Skill acquisition necessary to end unemployment —Oyo NDE beneficiaries

With the surge in the rate of unemployment in the country, the need for acquisition of skills has come to the front burner.

This was the stance of trainers and beneficiaries of different empowerment schemes of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in Oyo State over the years.

During an assessment tour of NDE schemes and projects across the state, the beneficiaries maintained that the acquisition of skills by youths would not only reduce unemployment but ensure a steady source of income in the face of any economic downturn.

Emmanuel Babajide, owner of S&S Iyanuoluwa Furniture Works in Alarere, Iwo Road, said after his training with the NDE in 1987, he has trained more than 10 persons, acquired further education because of the exigency of his work that required offering services to high calibre of customers and organisations.

Babajide maintained that skill acquisition never goes out of fashion. “I do advice that it is better to have something at hand rather than looking for white collar job because one way or the other you cannot lack when you have a skill. Today you may not have money but before the day runs out someone will just give you a call to do something. You cannot compare yourself with salary earner,” he said.

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For Temitope Oyewo, owner of Enimap Excel Decor and Bake Concepts in Bola Ige International Market, Gbagi, her journey with NDE began in 2018 having waited for years after graduating in 2008 from a tertiary institution without a job.

Oyewo was resettled with N600,000 loan by the NDE upon completion of her training and has trained over 20 youths in her area of specialisation and has rendered services to top public office holders.

“I studied Food Science and Technology but I was unable to get employed. Fortunately, I was introduced to the NDE training. I saw it as an opportunity to improve on what I studied while I was in school and here I am today with other people training under me,” she said.

Adetunji Olowe was trained in shoe making and leather works by the Directorate in 2005 and given a loan of N300,000 upon completion of his training. Olowe, owner of TJ (Shoes) Savi and Global Services in New Gbagi Market, currently has two workshops and showrooms and over 400 trainees to his credit.

He believes that physically disability is not a barrier to creating employment for oneself and others. “There is no one that has gone through my tutelage that even tried to look for job anymore. Everyone is seeing the benefit in vocational skills and acquiring skills. Search yourself and see what you can do with your hands and get trained in the skill, become a professional in it and become a better form of yourself.

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“I so much appreciate the NDE for what they have done because I don’t know what my life would have become if I didn’t get into this training. My whole focus before I was trained was to come out from school and then start looking for a job, maybe I could get one. But ever since I was trained and I saw a new me, I see a transformation from grass to grace.”

Damilola Hamzat, a hairstylist and beautician at Monatan, Ajoke Adurota, a fashion designer at Abayomi Street, Iwo Road and Ogechi Madu who specialises in interlock are appreciative of the NDE in ensuring they have regular trainees who they impact knowledge on.

After his training in fisheries between September and December, 2021, Julius Oloyede established his fish farming business in Ebodi, Apata with a loan of N100,000 from the NDE.

With only one harvest of 2,000 fishes, Oloyede said he made more than double the amount given to him as loan as there is a ready market for his business. He also has two trainees under him.

The Director-General of the NDE, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, who was represented by the Oyo State Coordinator, Mrs Olayinka Olayemi, called for more funding from the Federal Government to help the Directorate provide more employment for Nigerians.

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Olayemi said, “We believe that good funding will help us to do much more in the area of employment generation, wealth creation and poverty reduction in the country.

“We have been following up in terms of our mandate – job creation – with our four core programmes which are special public works, small scale enterprises, rural employment promotion which is agriculture and vocational skills development.

“We have trained our teeming unemployed youths in demand-driven skills – vocational, mechanical, domestic trades – and we have resettled them in their thousands in this current dispensation with tools, equipment, funds for them to able to stand on their own and become employers of labour rather than job seekers.”

At the NDE skills acquisition centre, Apanpa, trainees were seen knowledge in different vocational skills like fashion designing, catering, ICT, among others.

The trainees, including Grace Akpoi and Ajoke Aladeyomi, said they decided to acquire skills to complement their studies and regular jobs respectively. They promised to use their skills to further create employment for themselves and others.

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