Why We Mentor Skill Acquisition Graduates – Youth Commissioner

By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu

The Anambra State Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Prof Theresa Obiekezie, says government will sustain its technical and support services for youths trained in various skill acquisition programmes.

To achieve the desired objective, she said government had engaged some development experts to mentor skill graduates on strategies for running successful businesses.

According to her, coaching and mentoring were critical components of the youth empowerment agenda of the ministry to enable trained manpower to effectively overcome challenges militating against entrepreneurship.

The Commissioner who was speaking during a mentoring session for skill graduates at the ministry’s hall, urged them to maximize opportunities offered to them to not only grow their businesses but to train others.

‘We have mentored so many of them, including those trained a long time ago and those that were not directly trained by the ministry. Some of those trained are already working on their own.

‘Some are working with people under a kind of apprenticeship. We equally go to the field to supervise what they are doing and how they are running those businesses. We try to direct or re direct them in order to achieve success,’ she added.

In a remark, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Louisa Ezeanya, noted that the programme had continued to impact on the lives of skill graduates since its inception.

‘We realized from our field visits that so many of them are practicing their trade with positive responses. So, the huge amount government is spending is not a waste,’ she stated.

In a lecture, one of the resource persons, Mr Obinna Nwakpadolu, of Jassy Coaching Services, identified strength of character, intellectual, social and financial capitals, as critical to sustaining business ventures.

He encouraged them to strive at making inventions and inject something new to grow their businesses, especially in a highly competitive economic environment.

Engr Ifeanyi Aniagor, Director General, Digital Entrepreneurship Office, attributed failure in running businesses to lack of self-discovery, self-development and planning.

While calling for attitudinal change, he urged them to always imbibe the spirit of positive mindset and avoid depression associated with managing small scale enterprises to record success stories.

Speaking on ”Access to Business Financing”, Mr Eloka Maduekwe urged the graduates to develop the needed character that would qualify them to be considered for loans and grants to run their businesses.

He described financing as one the most important factors in business which must be complemented by competence, commitment, collaboration and communication.

He, then identified sources of credit facilities for small scale enterprises to include interest free loans by NARSAL Micro Finance Bank established for such intervention measure, among others.

Some of the skill graduates who participated in the programme, including Mr Olisa Okafor, who was trained in shoe making; and Juliet Anaduaka, confectionery, described the programme as inspiring and called for its sustenance.