By Donald Ugwu
Lagos – As volunteers in the N-Build non-graduate job creation programme began their orientation, the Presidential Aide on Job Creation and Youth Employment, Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede, has assured that the scheme would close the skills gap in the country.
He gave the assurance in Lagos on Monday during the monitoring of the on-going three-day orientation for the volunteers in some training centres in the state.
The centers visited were the Skillsup Academy/Government Technical College, Ikorodu, Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Centre, and the Automedics Ltd., Ikeja, part of the 160 centres nationwide mobilized and equipped for training already.
Imoukhuede acknowledged that many skills jobs done in the country were carried out by technicians from China, India, Lebanon and some West African neighbours.
According to him the foreigners saturated the labour market because Nigerian counterparts did not possess the skills and experience to be engaged.
He advised the youth to take the orientation and the succeeding three-month training seriously noting that in no distant time the volunteers would acquire competency skills, become self-employed and also support their families.
“Regardless of which N-Power scheme you are in, when we talk about giving you lifeline at the end of the day it is you that can give lifeline to yourself.
“A lot of investment was made by President Muhammadu Buhari on tools and kits purchased to enhance your training and only judicious use of the tools will help to better your lives.
“The potential before you is huge and in no distant time you will be supporting your families,’’ the SSA stated.
He reminded the volunteers that the training was not mandatory for those not interested in the scheme and called on them to exit before being caught.
Imoukhuede reminded them that the seven skills areas in N-Build were selected with the collaboration of technical stakeholders.
He noted that the equipment bought for distribution to graduates of the training cost the federal government N1.4 billion while the N10,000 monthly stipends to the 20,000 volunteers was worth N20 billion annually.
Imoukhuede reminded them that the stipend was not the objective of the programme but only to augment their transportation to the training centres.
“Do not make the stipend your priority as doing so clearly shows that you are in the wrong place and should quit,’’ he advised.
Paulinus Oche, Glory Akinola, Raymond Maurison, Durojaiye Bolatito were among the volunteers who hailed the programme.
According to Oche, a building specialist undergoing training in electrical installations, he is in the programme to shapen his skills in other parts of his profession in order to stop engaging third parties to complete his contracts.
Bolatito, who is training in plumbing said, “I believe it can add to my future’’ .
The Presidential team also visited Mrs Lara Erogbogbo, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), to drum support for effective monitoring of the trainee-volunteers in the state.(NAN)