27 June 2012

Nigeria: A Time Out With Female Trainee Drivers


This picture is for real. The lady changing the tyre of the car is one of the 300 graduates benefiting from the National Directorate of Employment's female driver trainee programme.

Since it was lunched about a month ago by First lady Patience Jonathan, nothing had been heard of the training programme. That was why the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment, Mallam Mohammed Abubakar decided to pay a visit to the Aso Driving School where the girls are being drilled on how drive and a car.

The sight there was not disappointing. Some of the female graduates took turn to drive Mallam Abubakar around. After one of such rides The NDE boss jokingly said "Now I know why people say 'safe journey'."

Though fun was written over the faces of the girls, they didn't take the exercise for granted as they displayed the various chauffeur skills they had learned during the training not only in driving but also in carrying out basic maintenance.

"When we came here," said one of the beneficiaries Maureen Orafa, "nobody knew how start a car. But now we can drive. I think it is a privilege for me to take the DG round to show him that they sent us here and we were able to do what they wanted us to do."

Daji Ima-Joy also, another beneficiary who has not gotten a job since 2009 said the training will help her in the clothe business she is in to.

" Imitation is the best commendation"

" But the DG NDE said the best thing satisfaction he gets from the project is the imitation by others which will lead to more jobs. Well, let me tell you, I always say, there is a saying which says, the best commendation you can get is imitation. Now, virtually everybody is imitating what the NDE is doing. Now, do not be surprised that before the end of the year, if some other stakeholders move into this."

"If you multiply the number of stakeholders and what they are doing, then you will realise the amount of effort put in Nigeria to empower youth is a lot."

"However, I am not saying enough has been done. We are forging ahead, we are creating new skills, we are creating new strategies and we are opening new frontiers."

Is there progress in job creation?

"We are making progress", said the NDE DG Mallam Mohammed Abubakar. "As you can see, each and every one of them can drive. When they came here, I think the only thing they knew was to be a passenger. Today you can see them riding on their own and I think we are very proud of what they have done and very proud of what is happening."

"In the coming days, like you see here with us is the managing director of the Abuja Leasing Company; the company with which we have some collaborations. When they would have finished training, they would have been tested, certified, given licence, the Abuja Leasing Company is ready to engage them as drivers with the pink cabs and the vehicles are already on ground."

"For me, these are people who have already gotten the job before they finished skills training."

"This is a new perspective of job generation; you see, ideally, training should be demand driven such that by the time you train a number of people, when they finish there is something waiting for them to do. It is really not ideal for you to train people only for them to relapse into unemployment."

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