In a bid to tackle unemployment in the country, the World Bank, in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment, has commenced the training of 227 unemployed youths in Cross River State under the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation.
The Director-General, NDE, Mr. Kunle Obayan, said in Calabar on Tuesday that the programme was designed to empower the youth with “skills for job” that would help them compete favourably in the labour market.
Obayan, who was represented by an official in the directorate, Mr. Mfam Eyahanjom, said that the youth would undergo training in life skill, sector-specific skills and entrepreneurial skills.
He explained that after the three-month training, the directorate would send the beneficiaries to competent private sector operators for a six-month internship apprenticeship programme.
Obayan explained that a total of 6,878 youths were selected from the seven participating state of Bauchi, Niger, Cross River, Kwara, Oyo, Ekiti and Kogi.
The director-general said that out of the number, the directorate had verified 4,721 beneficiaries, adding that 227 youths were selected to benefit from the training in Cross River.
“Throughout the nine months’ training period, the Federal Government, through the World Bank support, will ensure prompt payment of monthly stipends to the beneficiaries, who will receive skills training of their choice at no cost,” Obayan stated.
The World Bank representative, Prof. Ngozi Onyekwe, said that it was a major milestone for the bank to partner the NDE in the area of unemployment reduction in Nigeria.
The Coordinator, NDE in Cross River State, Mr. Edem Duke, 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 have access to increased opportunities in becoming entrepreneurs and job creators.
“This training is designed to enable trainees to find sustainable jobs, institutional capacity building and public-private sector partnership. I charge the beneficiaries to show commitment and make proper use of this rare opportunity to chart a new direction for a better future,” he said.
The State Coordinator, YESSO, Mr. Balinwo Ofegobi, said that the programme was saddled with the responsibility of providing temporary employment opportunities to unskilled and semi-skilled youths by supporting a labour intensive public workfare initiative.