Wife of Nigeria’s Transportation Minister and founder of the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI), Dame Judith Amaechi has said that entrepreneurial, vocational and leadership value enhancement is the key to completely unlock the potentials and possibilities available to the youth in a sustainable manner.
Mrs Amaechi spoke at the graduation of 100 participants of ESI’s vocational skills training in home finishing in partnership with Dudley College of Technology, United Kingdom and the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which held in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
She explained that “the mission of ESI is to tackle endemic poverty head on, develop a scheme that enables our citizens to be employable and self-employed thereby reversing unemployment, eliminating social vices and tempering restiveness in our region and country by empowering and securing opportunity for the sustainable livelihood of our youth and women.
“ESI flagship programme however, is our entrepreneurial development and skills acquisition programme. It was conceived at a time when the skills gap in the Niger- Delta Region seemed a daunting challenge and we recognised that the region’s potentials for sustainable personal growth were severely stunted. As a direct consequence, we created our training platform in 2008, which has provided various training programmes to over 3000 beneficiaries in Nigeria.”
Dame Amaechi also disclosed that the graduating trainees would be supported with N150,000 each as an investment capital support to get them moving and called for more support from individuals and agencies to empower more youths.
She also thanked the NDDC and other sponsors as well as the trainers from Dudley College for collaborating with ESI on the project.
“For the participants whose passing out ceremony we have all gathered here today to observe, all of them, 100 in number, are a part of ESI hands-on effort to evolve the culture of self-employment in Nigeria. For us at ESI, ‘evolve’ is an acronym which keeps us very focused on entrepreneurial, vocational and leadership value enhancement…the key to finally and completely unlocking the potentials and myriad possibilities open to our people in a tactically achievable and sustainable manner.
“Today is not a day to inundate you with statistics, no, today is the day you see the results of our action. These successful 100 trainees will be presented their certificates and starter packs including the sum of N150,000 each as business investment capital support start, to set them up in the right direction.
“The training was delivered through our international academic skills exchange programme from highly experienced professors, tradesmen and women from the Dudley College of Technology, United Kingdom who have offered first-hand knowledge and experience in training NVQ level 3 advanced/professional skilled workforce that has sustained their own economy.
“I would like to express our profound gratitude for the continuous cooperation of our sponsors. A combination of their vital support have remained the driving force behind the success of our training and other programmes. We need your support, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, with your support, the number of trainees can be over 100 instead of 100 that it is today. I will now focus all my energy towards building and expanding the empowerment coverage of the ESI,” she said.
The programme which was flagged off on the 10th of January with courses in POP, ceiling installation, screeding, decoration, floor tiling, electrical wiring, carpentry and plumbing, is a curriculum-based four-week development and training programme of good finishing concept.
Other programmes by the ESI include, maternal health programme, lady cabbies project and general advocacy programmes.
On his part, Executive Director of the NDDC, Obong Nsima Ekere congratulated the graduands and hailed NDDC’s strides in developing the Niger-Delta Region through empowerment programmes.
He said: “This graduation ceremony marks a major milestone in the continuing quest by the Niger-Delta Development Commission to transform our great region. Development is about people and today 100 sons and daughters of the Niger-Delta who have just completed the first phase high end upscale skill training programme in home finishing skills would be empowered to step out and to take the world. These graduates will be joining about 22,512 other sons and daughters of the Niger-Delta who have been trained and equipped with world class skills as clear evidence of the impact and investment that NDDC has made in rewriting the Niger-Delta story. I congratulate you all.”
Also at the event were Minister of Information and Communication, Lai Mohammed and wife of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari represented by wife of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Gimbiya Yakubu Dogara and other top national dignitaries.