Stories By Amaechi Agbo
The federal ministry of youth and sports development, FMYSD, Monday signed two Memorandum of Understand, MoU with WILCO and Junior Achievements Nigeria with a view to enhance the creation of digital awareness among the youth and creation of employment platform for them
The MoU which are in line with the minister, Sunday Dare’s resolve to ensure that the youth development mandate of the ministry goes hand in hand with its Sports Development responsibilities.
Dare who did not hide his joy in partnering with the two private firms led other senior officials of the ministry in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
While WILCO, would provide digital skills for the Nigerian youth, junior Achievers will leverage on the Digital literacy and Digital skills, Entrepreneurship, Employment, Leadership and Mentoring
Speaking at the signing, the Minister Mr. Sunday Dare expressed joy that the Ministry’s months of planning and strategizing on Youth Development was way on its way to yielding results.
He said, “Today’s event is a milestone as it coincides with our transition from the planning stage to implementation stage. My administration spent its initial months on planning and strategizing and I am pleased to announce that we are now at phase were the plans are translated into action that will benefit the Nigerian youth.
“Like other components of the DEEL initiative to which the Work Experience Programme (WEP) belongs, this MoU is the product of weeks, and even months of constant interaction between the Ministry’s team and that of WILCO. Such painstaking efforts ensured that the fine points were carefully worked out to ensure that the Nigerian youth emerge the winner from this relationship,” he added.
Addressing concerns on the transparency of the process would be business as usual, the Minister said, “WILCO is partnering with the Ministry for the selection, training and engagement of the successful ones among these youth and I am elated that the organization shares the same values with us such that the selection process is made as transparent as humanly possibly having fully adopted technology to deliver a scientific system of shortlisting beneficiaries. In the Ministry’s effort to equip the youth contemporary challenges we are doing our best to ensure that everyone has an equal shot at benefiting,” he assured.
He also expressed hope that the level of transparency that will be built into the DEEL programmes will be further deepened with the launch of the Nigerian Online Youth Assembly (NOYA) platform, which is now at the final stage of testing before going live.
NOYA, he explained, is an aggregator website and a one stop shop to connect Nigerian youths while further simplifying the selection process for WEP related opportunities.
“We believe that facilitating transparency in this manner will further boost confidence in the process and encourage other organizations and stakeholders to make their own investment in our youth, who are the greatest resource that will grow Nigeria into an economic power of the future”.
The Managing Director of WILCO, Tokunbo Lawal while speaking earlier, highlighted the benefits of the MoU to the Nigerian Youth to include; gaining employable skills, gaining contacts of organisations they would not have on their own, putting learnt skills into practice, making decisions on their work direction among others. She enumerated the areas the MoU covers to include Plumbing, Meter Installation, Electricals, Facilities Management among others.
On the MoU with Junior Achievement Nigeria which took place same Monday at the minister’s conference room, Abuja the non-profit organisation was described as leading financial literacy training, digital skills acquisition and entrepreneurship for the Youth.
The Minister revealed that the signing of the MoU with Junior Achievement Nigeria is a culmination of several meetings between the Ministry and the Junior Achievement Nigeria, in the past several months with an overriding passion and concern on both sides is for the Nigerian Youth.
Highlighting the importance of the partnership, the Minister said, “Based on data and statistics, you will know that clearly there is a digital skills gap not just in Nigeria, but also across Africa. So, there is a need for us to ensure that we give our Youth the necessary digital skills to be able to produce the digital tools they need to become entrepreneur, self-starters and also gain employment.
“Once again this brings us to an important juncture in an effort to leverage on some public-private partnership and also to seek out strategic implementation partner as we work not just to empower our youth but to invest in them to providing them with requisite skills necessary for engagement in the 21st century digital economy.
Recalling the President’s charge to keep the productively busy, he said ways to keep the Youth busy includes making them employable more, more knowledgeable and equipping them with what they need to be able to compete in the world.
“Yes we are about Sports, but we are also about Youth Development. This understanding and partnership with Junior Achievement we believe, will go a long way in helping to bridge the digital skills gaps among the Youths of this country.
He reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to playing a key part in the process which is embedded in the DEEL initiative which looks at Digital literacy and Digital skills, Enterpreneurship, Employment, Leadership and Mentoring. He said the Ministry would leverage on the 64 digital hubs owned by Junior Achievement Nigeria across the country in conjunction with about 24 Youth Development centres the Ministry hopes to bring on board across the country, with others centres as will be made available by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Executive Director Mrs. Simisola Nwogugu responding, thanked the Minister and said that in line with the organisation’s 20th anniversary celebration, the organisation is scaling up the number of Youth to equip with digital and entrepreneurial skills and would do just that with this partnership.