UNDP in partnership with the Lagos State employment trust fund (LSETF) on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, held a graduation ceremony in Lagos for 1,300 youth who were trained and certified in vocational training programme from seven major sectors; construction, garment making, entertainment, business support, hospitality, manufacturing & health care.
The project seeks to address the unemployment challenges faced by youths in the State and is aimed at increasing the pool of skilled manpower while responding to the shortage of employable labour.
The newly graduated trainees bring the total number of young people trained under the project to 5,056 with 50% being women and has placed 1,707 certified and skilled workmen and women into employment with the over 350 employers registered on its Labour Management Information System (LMIS) since the two institutions entered into a partnership in 2017.
Speaking at the event, the UNDP Resident Representative, Mohammed Yahya represented by the Team Leader, Climate Change/Environment, UNDP, Muyiwa Odele, said The Lagos State Employability Support Project was designed for a two-year period to respond to the unemployment challenges faced by young people.
He said: “It gives me great pleasure to join in congratulating, these fine set of young people and to share in their joy. Today is no doubt a very big day for all the graduates, their families, and instructors as well. Today is also a tribute to the visionary leadership of the Government of Lagos State, because as you are all aware the successes and achievements we are celebrating today, are all as a result of the support from Lagos State Employment Trust Fund in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.”
He added that the project has provided beneficiaries with smart skills; to enable them to compete favourably in the labour market. Accordint to him, the training designed and delivered by a world class company, with a curriculum that captures the needs of both the trainees and the private companies; has in no small measure facilitated increased access to job opportunities in Lagos state.
Yahya enjoined the graduands to be exemplary ambassadors of the programme. “My final charge to you, therefore is that you work diligently to make Lagos state proud; not just in your lifetime, but also of your legacy through your contributions as a skilled workforce. I wish you every success in your future endeavours.
The Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo said; “With well over 60% of Nigeria’s population made up of young people under the age of 35 years, we should effortlessly conclude that the future of our dear country is very promising. This implies that we have the benefit of a young workforce with the potential for another 30 years of productivity.
“However, that is not reality. We must be honest to admit that the reality today is that we do not have enough young people with employable skills that would make them globally competitive to take advantage of employment opportunities. Even blue-collar employment opportunities are quickly snapped up by the more skilled personnel from our neighbouring countries. We have to fix it and to fix this challenge,” he said.
In her remarks, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, LSETF, Mrs, Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru said; “It is no news that youth all over Nigeria and some parts of Africa migrate to Lagos State regularly seeking for “greener pasture” and an opportunity to participate in the commercial hub of the Nigerian economy. We want to make sure that as many of them, as are willing, are empowered and equipped with the right skills. With our partner, UNDP and our technical partner, Arcskills, the LSETF Employability Support Project sought to increase the pool of skilled manpower to alleviate the shortage of skilled workmen and women in Lagos State.”
It is expected that through the project about 16,000 skilled manpower will be produced in a three-year period to cater for demand in key sectors. It also includes promotional and access to market - matching participants to jobs endeavors for Participants.
Through this project, UNDP and LSETF hopes to expand employment opportunties for youths, strenghten human capital potentials, upgrade the technical quality of vocational centres, improve quality of training programmes and the teaching skills of instructors.