• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Delta youths to be masters of own destinies

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A total of 850 unemployed youths in Delta State are set to begin a programme to acquire entrepreneurial skills and agricultural training that will make them masters of their own destinies, bringing to end the years they depended on people for economic survival.

They do not need to blame anybody anymore for their economic woes, said the Chief Job Creation Officer of the state, Eric Eboh, a professor.

The training commencing this week, would mark the official kick-off of the 2019/2020 cycle of the Job Creation Scheme of the state which has recorded a total of 5,105 beneficiaries since its pilot scheme in 2015/2016 cycle till the current cycle.

Last week, the trainees in Skills and Training Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) who are among the lucky youths this year, partook in a one-day Orientation and Personal Effectiveness Training (OPET) organised for them by the state.

The OPET took place in three locations of the state, namely Warri, Ughelli and Asaba on 8th, 9th and 10th for the three Senatorial Districts of the state namely, Delta South, Delta Central and Delta North, respectively.

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A day before the OPET, a one-day orientation workshop for the 141 trainers engaged to train the STEP trainees, otherwise known as STEPreneurs, was held in Asaba, the state capital. The trainers same day and at the same event received their Letters of Engagement from the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer.

The pieces of training were to prepare both the trainers and trainees ahead of the skills and entrepreneurship programme that would take place in the various STEP accredited trade centres. They would be trained between two and eight months period.

The skills are Catering and Confectionery; Decoration and Event Management; Fashion Design and Textile Design; Cosmetology (Skin and Facial Care); Hairdressing and Makeover.

Others include Braiding; Information Technology Services (Open to youths with a minimum of OND/NCE; and Welding and Fabrication.

The rest skills are Electrical and Solar Works; Carpentry and Joinery; Tiling and Interlocking; Plumbing; Production of Cleaning Agents; POP, Screed-Making and Painting; and Audio-visual Services.
Addressing the STEP trainees in Asaba, Eboh, said the aim of the orientation was to work on the mindsets and attitudes of the youth for them to stop blaming anybody for their woes.

The average mentality of the Nigerian youth is that every other person is responsible for his problem and that he is the only one free from blame, said Eboh. “But in this programme, we train them (the beneficiaries) to change their mindsets to seeing themselves as those who would prosper and also prosper other youths in the state”, he declared.

The beneficiaries in Delta North District were seated in well-decorated Ikah Hall of Hotel Benizia, Asaba, wearing the STEP blue T-shirt which is Delta colour. The blue T-shirt matched greatly with the colours of the hall, especially the red seats.

Thus, Eboh continued, “The hall you are in shows that you are now branded. You are distinguished from others as the Job Creation Programme looks into you to bring out that thing that makes you distinctive. So, you are unique and branded.

“Today is historic in your life because you are joining the train of prosperity that the state governor has packaged for the youth of this state at his inception of office.”

“First, you must know your end product of this training – to prosper and prosper others. Knowing the end from the beginning enables you to reach your goal. The end product of this orientation is that you own and manage or run your own business,” he said.

He told them further, “Personal effectiveness is important for you to succeed as a business owner because somebody who has a personality crisis would hardly be a good business manager. We also take you on how to tackle business challenges as well as handle your customers”. While cautioning them not to compromise on discipline, he noted that “discipline is why the Job Creation programme is rated number one in the country.”

According to Eboh, the beneficiaries of the programme are meant to be successful entrepreneurs because the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa had prepared the ground for them to succeed by providing the needed funds and equipment to enable them start-up and rise to success.

The success story of the programme has made the Okowa’s administration sustain the programme so much that it has enrolled 850 youths to be trained under STEP and YAGEP this year.

Eboh pointed out that the STEP had been classified into two categories- the Green STEP and the Brown STEP. The Green STEP beneficiaries are those who have no knowledge of their skills but require training before establishment while the Brown STEP trainees are those who have the knowledge and reasonable competences in their chosen skills, but only needed refresher courses and support for the establishment by government.

He said the duration of training for these skills would range between three months to eight months for Green STEP while Brown STEP trainees would be trained between two months to four months.
He explained that the programme selection process was allocated at the grassroots level among the 278 wards in the state which clearly was a demonstration of the governor’s leadership style of all-inclusiveness and fulfilment of his promise of prosperity for all Deltans.

He emphasised that the programme was designed to train, reorient, equip and support youths to accumulate occupational skills of their choice and personal effectiveness skills together with entrepreneurial skills to own and run their enterprises.

He advised them to abide by the Code of Conduct for Trainees, stressing that the programme is a full-time programme as the state government would not condone indiscipline among them. He added that the state government would provide them with monthly stipend throughout the duration of their training.

Eboh enjoined them to take the training seriously as all graduates of STEP would go through a Post Training Proficiency Test (PTPT) to qualify them to undergo further training in Entrepreneurship and Business Management before establishment with starter packs.

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The same message was handed out to the trainees at Warri and Ughelli. Ifeanyi Egwunyenga, the commissioner for Youth Development, admonished the trainees to make good use of the seed given to them by taking the programme seriously, adding that the governor expects a return on investment.

Resource Person, Adun Afolabi, in his lecture, noted that some entrepreneurs were not leaders but that “the essence of the training is to make these ones leaders”.

Executive Assistant to the Governor on Mentoring and Monitoring, Eddy Mekwuye said the Directorate of Youth Mentoring and Monitoring (DYMM) was established to ensure that after receiving the starter packs, the beneficiaries are mentored and monitored to success. He urged them to make the best use of the opportunity offered them.

The 141 STEP trainers are expected to help the state government sustain the Job Creation Programme by putting in their best to ensure professionalism; quality, integrity and discipline are maintained during the training, which Eboh said were the brand ingredients that had made the job creation programme earn awards and endorsements nationally and internationally.

He reiterated the state government’s commitment to monitoring and mentoring of trainers during training and after establishment to ensure the sustainability of the programme.

Like their counterparts in Asaba, the trainees were happy being part of the programme. For instance, Bernard Magrignor (Ughelli North LGA) and Margaret Ohwofasa (Okpe) both in Catering and Confectionery expressed their gratitude to the government for initiating the programme.

Fortune Sakpra (Udu LGA) in Hairdressing and Makeover, on behalf of others, thanked the state government for creating the platform for youths to excel.

They were hopeful of achieving their dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs and thus, they pledged to abide by the Guidelines and Code of Conduct in order to sustain the programmes.

The engaged STEP trainers are also elated. One of them, Bridget Chineze of Brijtopnet International Fashion, could not hide her joy as she expressed readiness to give back to the society by imparting knowledge on the trainees.

The trainees seen as special entrepreneurs are expected to have the right mindset to see the value of the Job Creation Programme which would determine how far they could go five to 10 years from now.