The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it has so far trained and built the capacity of 22,612 youths, including the 100 that just graduated in Home Finishing Skills.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, stated this at the 6th Graduation of Empowerment Support Initiative, ESI, and NDDC Entrepreneurial and Skill Acquisition Training for Niger Delta Youths in Home Finishing Skills in Port Harcourt.
He remarked that the NDDC was currently processing the training of about 5,000 more youths in various skills, noting that the mandate of the Commission went beyond physical infrastructure.
According to him, “it is also about building capacity and equipping our people with skills and competences that enable them to join the rising global workforce. This aligns with the local content policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the human capacity development strategy of the Commission was anchored on the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, NDRDMP, which recommended the development of a highly skilled workforce that would enable the region to compete on equal terms with the leading players in the global market.
Ekere said that NDDC had trained internationally certified welding instructors in Nigeria and South Africa, adding that most of the beneficiaries were currently employed as non-destructive test engineers in the oil and gas industry.
He said: “We have also trained 700 school certificate holders in welding and fabrication, 65 engineering and geology graduates in highly specialised petroleum and drilling technology, 150 youths in solar power technology, 180 in oil spill management, 180 in fibre optics installations and thousands of others in various other skills and empowerment programmes, such as fashion design, catering, food processing, computer literacy, among others.”
Ekere said that the healthy partnership between NDDC and ESI demonstrated what could be achieved by collaborating with credible partners driven by the objective of finding solutions to the socio-economic difficulties and challenges confronting the Niger Delta region.
He noted that the building industry in Nigeria was facing a dearth of manpower, particularly in the critical area of office and home finishing and would require several trained hands locally to curtail the dependence on foreigners.
He commended the Board and Management of ESI for going the extra mile to bring world class experts in home finishing skills, from the United Kingdom, to lay a solid foundation for the pilot phase of the programme.
Ekere thanked President Buhari for showing commitment to the development and progress of the Niger Delta region, especially “for initiating the New Vision for the Niger Delta, which will effectively rewrite our history and steady us on the path to sustainable development.”
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the Federal Government was determined to create new jobs in all sectors of the economy.
He said that President Buhari administration had added millions of new jobs to the economy since it took office in 2015, stating: “before this government came into power; the nation had 5 million rice growers but today 12.2 million rice growers have been added.
Mohammed, however, said that job creation should not be left to the government alone, urging individuals, Non-Governmental Organizations and corporate bodies to join in the effort.
He described the NDDC/ESI entrepreneurship and skill acquisition programme as a well-conceived initiative that fitted into the government’s drive to generate employment for Nigerians.
In her own remarks, Dame Judith Amaechi, Founder and President of ESI, said beneficiaries were trained on P.O.P ceiling installation; wall screeding and painting; floor tiling; plumbing; electrical wiring; specialized carpentry such as wardrobes and kitchen cabinets, as well as interior decoration.
She said the empowerment scheme was created to close the skills-gap that hindered sustainable growth in the Niger Delta, noting that ESI was focused on tackling endemic poverty by developing a skilled force that would enable our youths to be employable and self-employed.
The graduating students of the Home Finishing Skills training were each given certificates, starter packs and N150,000 to enable them stand on their own.