A silent technological and innovative revolution is quietly going on in Ogun State today. This path-charting development which has the potential of repositioning the economy of the State as a pacesetter in the country is coming courtesy of a partnership between Foreign Trade And Investments Services Africa (FTAISA), an international consulting group, and Ogun State Government under the watch of Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
The initiative which is known as Ogun State-FTAISA City & Guilds TECHBAC Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Program is designed to equip the youths in Ogun State with useful technological and entrepreneurship skills with a view to ultimately make them employers of labour and wealth creators. Under this arrangement, foremost training institutions in Germany and other parts of Europe and the world acclaimed City and Guilds of London are working in close collaboration with FTAISA to empower the youths of Ogun State with practical skills which would help to take them off the streets and make them drivers of economic growth in the State.
The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is certainly a man with his eyes on the future who sees in the FTAISA programme a life-giving opportunity to prepare his people for leadership roles in various facets of the nation`s economy in the coming years. This is why he quickly grabbed the opportunity when it came his way to partner with FTAISA and their European collaborators to empower the youths of Ogun State with creative and innovative skills that would help to bring good values to the State.
Data coming out of the country point to a growing deficiency in vocational and entrepreneurship skills; to the extent that the nation now relies on artisans from neighboring countries like Togo, Benin Republic and Ghana to fill the gaps. But through the FTAISA Skills Acquisition Programme, Ogun State and indeed Nigeria have the opportunity to strengthen their workforce and in turn, the economy. Stakeholders are of the view that if Ogun State Government can sustain this programme, it would see a noticeable return on its investment.
The good news is that outstanding trainees in the on-going FTAISA Skills Development programme would have the opportunity to serve as expatriate workers in different parts of Europe and other parts of the developed world where their services are highly needed. In a globalized economy, the ability and capacity to compete depends on building a skilled, competent and confident workforce. According to the Project Coordinator of FTAISA in Nigeria, Dr. Cliff Ogbede, the intention of his organization is to continue to work with Ogun State Government and other Governments and agencies around the globe to drive employment by helping people develop the skills they need to progress into a job, on the job, and onto the next job.
He further reiterated that the on-going programme in Ogun State would enable outstanding trainees undergo further skills internship training in their partner institutions abroad. He noted that FTAISA has received several requests from some European Union Companies seeking to hire successful trainees from the Ogun programme. The FTAISA initiative in Ogun State is a complete programme of study which offers technical knowledge alongside practical skills and work attributes that employers feel are missing among new labour recruits.
The FTAISA programme in Ogun State covers a variety of fields including Automotive Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Refrigeration/Air-conditioning, Plumbing, Building Services, Land and Animal Husbandry, Hospitality/Tourism and Catering, Beauty and Health Care, and Digital Technology/ICT.
The trainees who are about 1500 in number are drawn from the three Senatorial Zones of the State, covering Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode and Yewa land. This was after a selection process that was preceded by a very competitive examination which was carried out in several centres across the State on the 20th of January, 2018.
The FTAISA has rolled out a lot of incentives to encourage the trainees and ensure that they do not suffer any distraction. Such incentives include free enrolment process, free feeding at the training centres, medical insurance, free uniforms and workshop materials and free examination enrolment and evaluation. These measure have guaranteed maximum attendance and participation by the trainees.
The flag-off ceremony which featured all the successful candidates was done by Governor Amosun in Abeokuta on January 22, 2018 with the German Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Bernhardt Schlagheck as the Special Guest of Honour. The Governor takes pride in the programme which is one of its kind in this clime. He promised to give total support to the initiative which he believed would give the economy of the State a very strong boost.
The presence of the German Ambassador further demonstrated the importance which the European partners attached to the programme. In his speech on the occasion, he commended the Ogun State Government for embracing the initiative and pledged the support of the German Government to ensure the success of the exercise. Following the pledge of the Ambassador, the German International Corporation GIZ, is supporting the programme to ensure full compliance with German skills Development model.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun deserves all the accolades for recognizing that the future belongs to those who possess skills and are ready to deploy their creative energies to serve the cause of mankind. The future does not lie in the possession of theoretical certificates that do not bear any relevance to the needs of the society. Those Governors elsewhere in the Federation who give out wheel barrows and tricycles as their youth empowerment programmes should do a rethink on their skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development agenda.
The FTAISA-Ogun State Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Programme is a very innovative model in skills acquisition and job creation in the country.
– Nwosu is a journalist and public affairs analyst