Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Kwara's Alternative Means of Job Creation

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Conscious of the fact that the much-sought after white collar jobs are no longer available and the nuisance that an idle mind can constitute to the society, the Kwara state government has taken some pragmatic steps towards creating employment opportunities for the army of unemployment youths in the state.

Though, the government had through its Bridge Empowerment Scheme (KWABES) employed over 2,000 youths between May, 2011 and now, there is still a yawning gap between the figures of the employed and unemployed youths in the state. Over 30,000 youths were said to have registered with KWABES.

One of the steps that the government has taken to bring down drastically, the number of the unemployed youths in the state is the establishment of a youth farm training centre in Malete, northern axis of the state where youths are being trained to become commercial farmers upon graduation. The government has made it a cardinal point to source for funds for the graduates from this farm centre to enable them commence their own farming ventures, through which they would become self-reliant and as well create job opportunities for others.

Also, the government has established an International vocational centre at Ajase-Ipo in southern axis of the state, where youths would be trained on various vocations such as carpentry and construction works that would not only make them self-reliant but job creators at the end of their programmes. The government's latest efforts in this direction was the youth entrepreneurship training organised by the state government in collaboration with the state University, Malete for some selected youth entrepreneurs in the state.

The programme which targets 1,500 unemployed youths commenced last week at the Ilorin area office of the state University. The programme will feature 50 participants on monthly basis.

Speaking during the flag off of the programme the Special Assistant to the state governor on Youth Empowerment, Mallam Zakariyau Babatunde, said the training followed the government's realisation that some youth entrepreneurs in the state are unsuccessful because they lacked managerial ability and understanding of their operational environment, a.

Babatunde, who said the youth would be empowered with loan facility after the training programme, added that the university would also mentor the youth to monitor the progress and ensure periodic evaluation of their ventures so that the loan facility would not go down the drain.

The governor's aide who said that about 70,000 unemployed youth were captured on the state government's data base, added that the development called for drastic action with the need to provide opportunities, identify needs assessment, skill gap and demand-based solution.

Declaring the programme open, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, said that the entrepreneurial programme was designed to produce creators of business and employment rather than job seekers.

He said that the programme would produce generation of entrepreneurs that would change and shape future economy of the state and the nation. The SSG hinted that the state government has committed a reasonable budgetary provision to the take-off, continued advancement and sustainability of the programme.

He also said that the state government had in the last one and a half years enlisted and employed 2,000 youth in the Kwara State Youth Empowerment Scheme (KWABES), adding that efforts were in top gear to recruit more youth into the scheme.

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