No fewer than 528 youths are being trained in different vocational skills in Akure, Ondo State capital, by Artisan Headquarters, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).
The skill acquisition, which is in collaboration with some federal agencies and artisan associations, is to train the selected youths in different skills free of charge.
Flagging off the programme on Wednesday, Mr Ilesanmi Ade-Ademola, Co-Founder of the organization, said arrangement had been made with some artisan volunteers to train the youths free for four months:
“We have reached agreement with artisans, cutting across different skills, to train the youths who showed interest free after we had sent out notice to the public.
“Investigations have revealed that most youths are willing to acquire skills in various vocations, but they could not afford the fees charged by the trainers.
“So, we have found a way of assisting them by taking off the fees.
“The turnout was huge, but we could only accommodate this number due to paucity of fund and other logistics problems.”
Ade-Ademola said that the organization had concluded plans to retrain the trainers by introducing them to innovations in their various businesses such as new discoveries that would enhance their operations.
“As a way of compensating and encouraging the artisans, we have made arrangement to bring in some experts to introduce new technologies and devices to them and train them on how to use same.
“For instance, mechanics among them, would be trained on how to use diagnostic machines, among other innovations. We are also registering company names of some of the artisans free,” Ade-Ademola said.
Mr Tunji Ariyomo, the Special Adviser on Energy to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, while commending the organizers, noted that “the micro-economic input would define economic and industrial trajectory of the country.”
Ariyomo, who promised to sponsor 10 participants, implored all beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunities provided by the training, noting that entrepreneurs constituted the base of development of any nation.
“As you’re going into entrepreneurship, learn presentation and your appearance will make a difference.
“Be cool-headed, creative, smart, and patient, abide by the law and be friendly with your customers.
“You should know that our population is an added advantage for entrepreneurial base,” Ariyomo said.
Hon. Toluwani Borokini, a lawmaker representing Akure South Constituency I at the Ondo State House of Assembly, also lauded the organizers, describing the initiative as the best way to reduce poverty in the country.
Borokini promised to buy start-up tools for at least 55 participants after the completion of the training.
The lawmaker enjoined the participants to seize the opportunity being offered by the NGO, saying they would not only become self-employed after the training, but employers of labour as well.
The state Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Mr Dotun Owanikin, also described the skill acquisition programme as laudable.
Owanikin said that the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration “is fully committed to various programmes designed to train the youths in the state”.
He advised the participants to take the training seriously and learn it responsibly:
“You should all see the training as a path to finding a sustainable way of making a living by acquiring skills and challenging gender norms, especially the females among you.”
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Arewa Dickson, thanked the organizers for the opportunities offered them, saying she had been eager to learn fashion design, but could not afford the outrageous fee being charged.
Dickson pledged that she would make maximum use of the offer.
The skills offered include fashion design, mechanic work, welding, tiling, hairdressing/barbing, POP work, artwork, painting and photography, among others.
Amaka E. Nliam