By George Odok
Calabar – The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in collaboration with the World Bank, has begun the training of 227 unemployed youths in Cross River under the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO).
Mr Kunle Obayan, the NDE Director-General, said in Calabar that the programme was designed to empower youths with skills that would help them compete favourably in the labour market.
Represented by Mr Mfam Eyahanjom, an official from the Directorate, Obayan said that the youths would undergo training on `Life Skill Training, Sector Specific Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Skills Training’.
He explained that after the three months training, the directorate would deploy the beneficiaries to competent private sector operators for a six-month internship/apprenticeship training.
Obayan said that 6,878 youths were selected from the seven participating states of Bauchi, Niger, Cross River, Kwara, Oyo, Ekiti and Kogi.
He said that the directorate had verified 4,721 beneficiaries while 227 youths were selected for the training in Cross River.
“Throughout the nine-months training period, the Federal Government, through the World Bank support, would ensure prompt payment of monthly stipends to beneficiaries who will receive skills training of their choice at no cost,“ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Edem Duke, the NDE Coordinator in Cross River, said that the collaboration with the World Bank was in line with the Directorate’s commitment to poverty reduction.
Duke said that the training programme would help unemployed youths to access opportunities to become entrepreneurs and job creators.
“This training is designed to enable trainees to find sustainable jobs, boost institutional capacity building and public private sector partnership.”
He charged the beneficiaries to show commitment and make proper use of the rare opportunity to chart a new direction for a better future.
Prof. Ngozi Onyekwe, the World Bank representative, said it was a major milestone for the bank to partner with NDE in the area of unemployment reduction in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Mr Balinwo Ofegobi, the Cross River Coordinator of YESSO, said his office was saddled with the responsibility of providing temporary employment opportunities to unskilled and semi-skilled youths.
One of the beneficiaries, Ms. Doris Ben, thanked NDE and the World Bank for designing the programme which is aimed at equipping them with skills to become self-employed.