By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government on Tuesday graduated 6,099 students from its various skills and acquisition centres across the state.
The ceremony, which was held at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television Ground, in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, saw the students being issued certificates.
Speaking at the event, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said acquiring vocational skills would help fight poverty, which had been the bane of developing countries, adding that government had provided opportunity for the young people to enhance their socio-economic well-being through vocational skills acquisition.
The governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, said the skills acquisition centres had been equipped to teach various vocations with adequate equipment to enable graduates land on their feet running with minimal seed money, adding that government would continue to provide enabling environment and start-up grants to assist the youths.
“There are abundant natural resources to service the needs of entrepreneurs to produce quality goods not only for local consumption, but also for export. We shall continue to provide the enabling environment and support for ‘start ups’ to navigate the commercial channels successfully,” he said.
Wife of the Governor, Bolanle Ambode said the programme had helped to raise awareness that not only white-collar job was capable of generating stable income and giving good life to the youths and other unemployed persons, saying that thousands of young school leavers, unemployed graduates, among others had been churned out of the various centres across the state.
According to her, the graduation ceremony represented a turning point in the lives of the graduands, as the event was a transition from joblessness to gainful employment; job-seeking to entrepreneurs and from penury to financial stability.
She appealed to the graduands to make the best use of the empowerment as tool to turn around their lives for personal progress and development of the society.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, WAPA, Dr. Lola Akande disclosed that the graduands had been trained in the areas of aluminium fabrication, bead stringing, hat making, rubber macrame and crafts; catering and hotel management; computer studies, fashion designs and dress making; hair dressing and cosmetology, barbing and photography, among others.
She said the ministry had continuously improved facilities at the centres and also expanded available vocations toward ensuring that trainings were more robust and multi-faceted in nature, while challenging the graduands to consider themselves as people with great ideas and competences which made the sky only their beginning.
Akande stated that the graduands could access loans from the Employment Trust Fund, ETF, to boost their businesses, adding that the sum of N6.25 billion per annum, totalling N25 billion for four years, had been earmarked for this purpose by the state government, while over 12,000 jobs had been created so far through the scheme.