As the rate of joblessness in the country continues to defy known logic, Lagos State government has adopted partnership arrangement with private sector to beat the menace. Sunday Ojeme reports
Recent steps taken by Lagos State Government to partner private sector operators to train students and unemployed youths in the state is expected to clear the region of idle and jobless youths in the very near future.
Apart from creating a number of agencies to engage interested indigenes and non-indigenes, the state government has gone a step further to hone the skills of others by engaging them with organisations for technical training through Public Private Partnership arrangement.
The latest in this regard is the arrangement with the management of Coscharis, whose initiative to engage youths in technical training was embraced by the state government. The programme is coming after an initial partnership with GE where students from the state’s technical colleges were trained by the company.
It was run by GE Garage engineers and instructors to enhance the students’ current capabilities while helping them develop new skill sets as designed by the State Ministry of Wealth Creation and the State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB).
The GE Garage Advanced Manufacturing programme involved 20 final year students and five instructors from the five government technical colleges in the state taking part in an intensive one-week training that will hone their skills in advanced manufacturing.
The selected technical colleges, spread across the state and under the supervision of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board are located in Ikotun, Ikorodu, Agidingbi, Ado-Soba and Epe. The programme takes place at the LASTVEB HQ School Complex, Ikeja GRA.
During the programme, which ended last month, the students were exposed to cutting-edge technology, experiencing GE’s Digital Industrial leadership in shaping modern manufacturing. They also learnt how such readily available technology could help their future businesses.
Speaking on the development, the Director, Communications & Public Affairs, GE Africa, Patricia Obozuwa, said the initiative was aimed at promoting advanced manufacturing and technology in the modern work environment by extending the GE Lagos Garage entrepreneurship programme through LASTVEB to its colleges.
She said a condensed version of the current GE Garage curriculum will expose the technical college students to latest developments in advanced manufacturing, taking into consideration the student’s vocational studies exposure and their area of specialization, to ensure proper focus and impact.
“We are committed to supporting skills development in Nigeria, and across Africa. We see ourselves as partners in building a sustainable future for Africa, and we believe that partnerships such as this are necessary if we are to overcome Africa’s economic challenges,” she said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, commended GE Nigeria for their efforts in transferring such important skills to Lagosians. He said the collaborative initiative is in line with the ministry’s mission to promote and sustain entrepreneurship and employment through effective use of wealth creation strategies and resources by collaborating with all stakeholders.
On his part, the Chairman of Coscharis Group, Cosmas Maduka, whose effort also graduated some trainees recently, said the training became necessary because of the need to fill some gaps in the society and the organisation’s need to build an institution that is timeless in its relevance.
He said: “At that point we knew that in order to remain timeless in our relevance to the automotive industry, we needed to do more than selling new vehicles – we needed to also establish an after-sales support base, which will help to keep our customers’ vehicles on the road, performing optimally at all times. Because of the dearth of qualified technicians in the industry at the time, we had to embark on hiring of expatriates from other countries to man our after-sales facilities.
“However, as the demand for our vehicles increased, so was the demand for after-sales services. Therefore, as a forward looking organization and in consonance with our mission statement to plough back to the society, we decided to embark on manpower training and development of our youths, to fill in the vacuum created by the dearth of qualified technicians, thereby empowering and creating employment opportunities for them.
Thanks to the Lagos state government, they identified with our vision and tapped into it via a public private partnership, which eventually birthed the CG-Eko LLP Training Academy.”
He added that since admitting the first set of trainees in 2013, the academy had successfully wheeled out 41 graduates till date.
“Majority of the graduands here today have been absorbed into our organisation, some employed by other organisations, while some have become after-sales facility entrepreneurs.”
With the initiative, which should be emulated by other states, it is expected that the state government would tactically rein in jobless youths and by extension curb restiveness and other form of criminalities in the state.