Lagos floats fresh initiative to tackle youth unemployment

First City Monument Bank plc, FCMB.

First City Monument Bank plc, FCMB.

The Lagos State government has commenced the empowerment of 500 youths under its Ready Set Work (RSW) scheme as part of its efforts at curbing youth unemployment in the state.

The scheme is executed in collaboration with the First City Monument Bank plc, (FCMB) among others stakeholders in job creation initiatives.

RSW is an entrepreneurship and employability initiatives of the Lagos state Ministry of Eduaction that is focused on final year students in high institutions.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of RSW students in Lagos recently, the Special adviser for Education in Lagos state, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, said the objective of RSW is to equip student with the critical skills and the know-how necessary to either become employable or employers of labour.

He added: “The need for this programme was underlined by the apparent gap between the quantity and quality of graduates produced yearly and available jobs in the labour market.”

Also speaking, the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode said his administration remained strongly committed to capacity building, entrepreneurship empowerment, and sustainable youth development, adding that the RSW initiative was one of the initiatives targeted at youth empowerment.

While stating that the future of Lagos and indeed the country lies in the hands of the youth who constitute a significant portion of the population, Governor Ambode said his objective is to allow students of tertiary institutions in the State have access to initiatives such as the RSW and other programmes.

The Governor, who invited public and private sector such as non-governmental organizations, international agencies, and well-meaning Lagosians, to partner with the State Government in raising students and youths who will transform the State, the country and indeed, the world, also vowed to increase the number of students in the pilot scheme of the RSW programme from 500 to 1,000 in 2017.

He said: “This is a time to push ahead with the same strength and focus that brought you to this point, and to pursue with vigour the knowledge, skills, and ideas formed in you over the last three months.

“The private sector would benefit from your passion and professionalism, while the entrepreneurial world awaits your vision driven ideas. As you progress in your journey, strong discipline remains an imperative and as pilots and ambassadors of “Ready, Set, Work”, you must uphold the positive values of decorum, respect, and self-management. Stand out and stand apart from the crowd in the “outside world.”

The Governor, who announced employment opportunities with the State Government for some of the graduates, also appreciated the private firm that partnered with the government to ensure the success of the 2016 programme.

Apart from the first place winners of the pitch competition, second place winners – One Box Group was given N500, 000 and placed on N100, 000 monthly working capital for six months, while the third place winners – Artisans On Campus, a group with online business plan, was given N250, 000 and equally placed on N100, 000 monthly working capital for six months.

Also, 80 students were placed on apprenticeship slots, while 92 were placed on employability module.

VP, Human Resources and strategy FCMB, Felicia Obozuwa said has part of the FCMB initiative of empowering youths, we find this partnership as big opportunity, which we assure the Lagos state government that part of the gradates will be given opportunity to work with the bank.

She commends the Lagos state government for this initiative and than urges for continuity of RSW has to it will help in eradicating unemployment.

Oluwafemi and Samuel, who emerged as first place winners of the pitch competition of the programme, were equally given N1million seed funding and placed on N100, 000 monthly working capital for six months, all geared towards encouraging their business idea to grow.

The business idea, which is Biogas production, involves the treatment of animal waste in order to generate Biogas, which can be used for domestic cooking, generation of electricity and other purposes. The technology is targeted at providing a potential substitute for the ever-costly liquefied petroleum gas.

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