The leadership of Canadian University Students Oversea (CUSO international) said it had commenced the process of boosting the technical skills of twelve thousand, three hundred and ninety four youths in their chosen businesses.
Briefing journalists in Calabar during the International Youth Day Celebration with a theme, “The Road 2013: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption”, team leader for the project, Jerry Nwigwe, said that the acquisition of technical skills by youths would contribute in no small measure in bridging the unemployment gap in the country.
Nwigwe said the skills impacted by CUSO would enable the youths strengthen their capacity to efficiently manage small and medium scale businesses of their choice.
He stated that the training would span through a period of five years.
According to him, about 200 youths residing in Cross River State had so far benefitted from CUSO`s training, adding that since they came to the state, about 410 businesses had been strengthened.
“The most significant intermediate outcome to date is that 410 young people have established new businesses when previously they were unemployed or underemployed” he said.
The team leader maintained that the 12,000 skills acquisition training for youths in Cross River State which began in 2014 would be concluded in 2019, adding that about 54 youths had just benefitted from the YEBSP grant and 20 more were still waiting verification while about 16 groups and individuals had so far received loans from MFI partners.
Also speaking, Country Director for CUSO in Nigeria, Garry Shea, stated that the target of CUSO was to work with very vulnerable and most marginalised citizens of the state, stressing that N100,000 was being given to less privileged individuals while N300, 000 (three hundred thousand) had been given to cooperatives as grants to kick start their own businesses.
He said that the system for providing technical support and credit facilitation for young entrepreneurs fostered by the project had a potential to contribute in meaningful ways to the ultimate project outcome over the life time of the project, stressing that the project had added additional 16 new local government areas after an MoU was signed with these new local government areas.
He said that so far, about 2,394 youths had undergone entrepreneurial trainings on how to manage small and medium scale businesses, adding that CUSO was partnering with other agencies like YOULEAD to ensure that the training was given to beneficiaries so as to reduce the unemployment rate which had bedevilled the country in recent times.
According to him, the project started with six LGA`s as a pilot scheme in 2013, adding that by the end of 2013, it was subsequently increased by additional 6 making 12.
He further stressed that the project was divided into three areas which included entrepreneurship and value chain where technical expertise was being provided to beneficiaries.