by Mfonobong Ukpong
A total of 5,478 Akwa Ibom youths drawn from the 31 local government areas in the state have so far benefitted from Governor Udom Emmanuel‘s Skills development and youth empowerment programme in the past 18 months.
The youths were trained in various skills including, ICT, Oil and Gas, Welding and Fabrication, Fashion design among others.
Making the disclosure, Wednesday during a live Radio interview on INSPIRATION FM as part of activities to mark World Youths Skills Day, 2020, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Skills Development, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Alice Ekpenyong, stated that Governor Udom Emmanuel has demonstrated enough commitment towards ensuring that Akwa Ibom youths were economically independent through skills and entrepreneurship development.
“About 5,478 youths have been trained in different skills including, ICT, Oil&gas, welding and fabrication in the last18 months. It actually started in 2019.
“We ended the training exercise just before the pandemic. Recently, the government of Akwa Ibom State has distributed some inputs to the youths in Agriculture, under the Cassava Farmers Scheme in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture”.
Alice Ekpenyong, a former Chief Whip in the State House of Assembly hinted that programme would enter the next phase, as her office awaits inputs from the Economic Recovery Committee.
“They are now in the immigration stage, so we are waiting for them to hear what they have for us, and then we’ll continue from where they stopped“.
Also speaking, the Director of Administration at the Skills Center Development Office, Pastor Godwin George who also fielded questions during the interview said the Office of the SSA to the Governor on Skills Development undertakes the training, monitoring and mentoring of the trainees. He added that at the end of their training the Skills Development Office in partnership with Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN ensures every successful trainee is established at the completion of their training programme.
“We ensure every trainee is established. We partner SMEDAN to enable them get SMEDAN certificate and with the certificate they can access CBN loan. we go as far as partnering the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC to get their businesses registered“.
The theme of the 2020 World Youth Skills Day is Virtual Event on Skills for a Resilient Youth in the era of COVID-19 and beyond, and Mrs Ekpenyong told interested participants in the forthcoming skills training programme to register with her office at No 10 Afia Etoi street in Uyo.
The Governor’s skills development aide said her team was currently on road shows across markets, and other public places to invites participants for the next phase of the skills training programmes.
“We just concluded a tour across the state and we have identified 24 training centers that we will use for the training programme,” she added.