Hundreds of Youths from various local government councils in Bayelsa State are seeking escape from crime by taking refuge in vocational training and empowerment programmes in the state.
According to less than 3,000 benefiting youths, the various skill acquisition programmes and vocational studies, have become another strategic way used to escape from poverty and unemployment. Even graduates of various higher institutions of learning are using it to conquer unemployment and become employers of labour.
My investigations around Bayelsa State showed that these trainings are basically provided by the State Government, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) among others as a deliberate policy to moving Bayelsa away from a consuming to a productive economy.
According to the records made available by the State Ministry of Trade Industry and Investment, over 5,000 youths have benefitted from the various skill acquisition and training programmes in the last one year. A total of 1,664 youths have been trained and empowered with starter packs under the Douye Diri Skills Acquisition and Empowerment programme.
Another set of 400 youths were moved in two batches for the integrated farming Training at the CSS Global Integrated Farms in Nasarawa State. Sponsored by the state government, the youths are expected to undergo a two-week intensive training in poultry production, fish farming, plantain/cassava farming, rice/maize farming, feed-mill processing, greenhouse and hydroponics as well as in ruminant fattening, agricultural business and financing among others.
The National Directorate of Employment (NDE), in line with its mandate of job creation and poverty reduction have also added a life-line to Bayelsa youths with the three-month training of 30 youths in waste recycling.
According to the state coordinator of the NDE, Mr Aham Osuchukwu, the dearth of white-collar jobs had made members of the society to honour legitimate jobs and not to look down on them.
Governor Douye Diri, in his message to the benefitting youths, said the youths’ eagerness to participate in the various skill acquisition programmes showed that “they are industrious, committed and brilliant people. You have been taught various trades. Rather than go to seek for handouts, you are now independent and can employ others and add value to Bayelsa.”
Two beneficiaries, Mrs Profit Abeki from Kolokuma/Opokuma and Rosemary Anthony from Southern Ijaw local government areas said the scheme was a testimony that Bayelsans were capable of developing themselves.