• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Coca Cola arrives Port Harcourt in search of 15,000 youths for empowerment

Coca Cola arrives Port Harcourt in search of 15,000 youths for empowerment

Over 800 youths gathered in the GRA Phase 2 area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to meet with 40 mentors procured by the Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC) with the Coca Cola brand on youth empowerment.

Officials of the NBC said the company targeted 15,000 youths across Nigeria to be groomed and empowered to either pursue credible careers or set up businesses of their own. The training is said to be world-class to make the Nigerian youth measure up with their counterparts in the US and UK in terms of training.

The search for the 15,000 Nigerians youths began in Lagos one month before it came to Port Harcourt, heading north to Kano next, according to NBC officials now in Port Harcourt. The programme was coordinated (as fixer) in Port Harcourt by Cyril Bieh, executive director of Centre for Youth Entrepreneurship Development (CENYED).

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The three-day programme began in Port Harcourt as early as 8 am with the youths sitting in groups of 25 with a mentor to interact and guide them in self-awareness skills, work environment, elements of entrepreneurship, career concepts, funding a start-up (the difference and sources of between angel funds and loans), career choices about talents and strengths, fears in the heart and how to overcome them, etc.

Most of the participants expressed enthusiasm and eagerness to learn how to stand as job agents instead of job seekers. They were hoping to also be linked to jobs that may be available where the mentors work or consult.

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The head of Legal/Public Affairs unit of NBC, Shade Morgan, said in an interview that the scheme, ‘Youths Empowered Nigeria’, is an international training programme brought to Nigeria by the NBC to empower the youth through training in workplace requirements and make them employable. “This makes them look like their peers in the US and UK.

Mentors and experts are brought to teach them entrepreneurship skills so they can run their own start-ups. This is because one in four Nigerian youths is unemployed.

The aim is to make them more employable and skilled for their own businesses.”

She said most of the training would be online through a dedicated portal that would take them through a training process. “About 40 mentors are around to guide them and share experiences with the 700 participants and follow through to help them complete the training modules. It is going to be for three days. The youths would go and set up their online platforms.

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“This scheme is for three years. It is being done in three major cities in Nigeria, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano. This has taken a lot of resources to the scheme. We are working with a great team of Nigerian mentors to develop the youths. We are targeting 15,000 youths in the scheme in the next three years”.

The Lagos version was flagged off by the Managing Director of NBC, George Polymenakos, who said it another way of giving back to the society as a successful business concern in the country.

A representative of the Rivers State government, Napoleon Abe, told newsmen how the state government was keen on partnerships that would develop the youth in the state. “The governor has been marching on in the areas of empowerment and youth development.”

He said the government has established what he called a formidable vocational training centre to cater for the youth in training in various fields. “We do not only train them but empower them with starter packs especially at the Old GRA vocational centre full of equipment.”

He encouraged NBC to put forward proposal for a viable partnership scheme on youth development, saying the Nyesom Wike administration would look into whatever would help create jobs and empower the youth.

Ignatius Chukwu