By Michael Nnebife
Arrangements have been concluded to roll out the second phase of 1 Youth, 2 Skills Acquisition Programme in an effort towards realizing Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s vision of creating 1,000 millionaires annually in Anambra State.
The State Commissioner for Youth Development, Mr Patrick Aghadinuno Mbah, gave the hint in an interview with the press in his office last week.
Mr Mbah said the pilot phase of the programme which commenced in November 2022, had been concluded in July 2023 and the trainees would be given seed money by the state government anytime from now for them to kick start their various businesses.
Saying the 1 Youth, 2 Skills Acquisition Progromme was a project with a timeline, Mr Mbah gave a brief insight into the journey on the programme so far.
‘What we’ve done is a pilot. It was flagged off in October 2022. Our target is 4, 200 youths but we started with 6, 000.
‘We used what I call marginal diminishing principle; it’s just like concave; through the process, we see the real people, people that are serious and ready.
‘We created a monitoring mechanism in each local government. We have up to six volunteers; including government desk officers, just to get the real people.
‘We selected and engaged the best top shops with 22 skills. The skills range from cinematography, catering and cooking, solar power installation, metal fabrication, electrical electronics, furniture woodwork, ICT, and so, just for a start.
‘1 Youth, 2 Skills Acquisition project has a holistic methodology – entrepreneurship, business financing, setting up of cooperative societies, using comparative advantage, and needs assessment and mentoring.
‘After training, we don’t just leave them; we cluster them through comparative advantage and needs assessment within the same skills.
‘We’re going to mentor them just one year, for government wants to see them succeed and going into society creating millionaires and becoming employers of labour.
‘We’ve concluded the entrepreneurship programme part of it on 1st July 2023.
‘We’ve done the third stage; that’s, setting up of cooperative societies. The essence of the cooperatives is for the government to continue to connect and support them with soft loan for growth and sustainability.
‘We’re in the fourth stage; that’s business financing, so, anytime from now, they’ll be graduating with their seed money which depends on the business plans to be presented by the trainees and evaluated by experts,’ the commissioner said.
Mr Mbah said for the second phase, they had collected data; done the processing and screened the master trainers.
‘We’ve over 100, 000 trainee applicants, but we’re going to train 12, 000. We tried to do a thorough survey to get 55 skills. Hopefully, by October, we have to kick start with flag-off,’ he stated.
He further said that the Youth Ministry engaged Unizik Business School and had an articulated curriculum for its courses, which, he said, were forty-four in number under entrepreneurship skills.
According to him, ‘1 Youth, 2 Skills Acquisition Programme gives technical vocational skills and entrepreneurship which will help the trainees in the business aspect of what they learnt. This is how it’s done in the Western World.’
He stated that researchers adjudged apprenticeship model ‘Igba boy’ aspect of the programme as the most impacting in the world, stressing that Soludo’s Government was targeting to make Anambra State a skills hub of Africa.
Recalling Soludo’s campaign promise, the Youth Commissioner said government was making an arrangement to send people to Aba for training on Akwuete fashion and designing.
He added that efforts were in top gear to see that no youth in the state was left out in the thing.
The commissioner, who was full of praises for his principal, Governor Soludo, for being very passionate about youth development, appealed to affluent individuals, corporate and non-governmental organizations, churches and communities, to support the government by adopting the 1 Youth, 2 Skills Acquisition Programme in their various domains so as to stem out the tide of youth unemployment, restiveness and criminality in the state.
Mbah further enjoined traditional rulers and presidents-general of communities in the state to create a viable platform whereby the concerns and pressing needs of youths would be routinely treated, arguing that this, if well done, would go a long way to giving youths a sense of belonging.