By Emeka Akomas, Umuahia
The S4J team head of Abia State Coordinator of NDE, Arc. Lady Chijioke Uzoatuegwu has said that the Skills for Jobs (S4J) component of the Federal Government/World Bank sponsored Youths Employment and Social Support Operations (YESSO) will be giving trade starter packs at the end of their programme.
While addressing newsmen in Umuahia, recently, the NDE Abia State Arc. Lady Chijioke Uzoatuegwu said, “about one thousand and two hundred beneficiaries drawn from six pilot local government areas of Abia state have undergone a three months residential skills training at Gregory University, Uturu. The trainees are presently undergoing six months internship training with established private sector organizations. They are being paid N7,500 monthly stipends for the nine months duration of the entire programme.”
On how the scheme and the beneficiaries fared at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uzoatuegwu noted that the beneficiaries joyfully received double bank alerts as payments of their two months (N7,500 per month) stipend and sustainability support during the lockdown period.
Uzoatuegwu stated that it took the passion of the Director-General of NDE, Dr Mohammed Ladan Argungu for helping youths unemployed and the tenacity of the NDE/YESSO S4J Focal Person, Mrs Roseline Olaomi to achieve this financial soothing feat involving preparation and release of funds for stipends payment from the Federal Operations Coordinating Unit (FOCU) at the period of lockdown.
“YESSO runs two components namely, the Public Work Fare (PWF) and the Skills for Jobs (S4J). The S4J component which is operated by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), focuses on piloting a new approach to demand driven skills training to increase the effectiveness of government’s effort to combat unemployment among youths from poor and vulnerable households. To key into this Federal Government/World Bank sponsored programme, the state government had to pay a designated counterpart fund. The Dr Okezie Ikpeazu led administration in Abia State is the only South East state amongst the seventeen states of the federation that is participating in the programme.”
Similarly, the National Directorate of Employment NDE said it paid monthly stipends to three hundred and forty youths and unemployed persons in Abia State under the Basic National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (B-NOAS). Twenty beneficiaries were drawn from each of the seventeen local government areas of the state.
B-NOAS is one of the flagship employment generation programmes of the NDE, where a number of youths and unemployed persons are recruited and trained in several demand driven skills chosen by them usually at the private workshops of master tradesmen. At some other times, trainings are also conducted at established NDE skills centres. The programme which ran for three months is being conducted at all the seventeen local government areas of Abia State in various vocational skills like Catering, Hair dressing, Fashion Design, GSM Repairs and more.