IN its continuous efforts at nipping the menace of unemployment in the bud, the Federal Government has initiated a School-To-Work training programme for 150 secondary school students in Cross River State.
The programme, which would be managed by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), is meant to equip the students with employability skills and engage them in meaningful activities during the holiday period.
Declaring the programme open in Calabar, Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige, said that the Federal Government was not oblivious of the escalating level of unemployment in the country.
Ngige said that the scheme which was new in the Directorate was designed to engage the students in learning self employed skills like barbing, phone repairs, computer repairs and others for a period of two months.
“The Federal Government is not unaware of the high level of unemployment in Nigeria. As part of measures to address it, government has designed programmes and schemes towards skills acquisition for graduates and non graduates.
“This training programme is meant to equip these students with employability skills that would make them self reliant even after their West African Examination,” he said.
Mr Olakunle Obayan, the acting Director General of NDE, said that the idea behind the programme was to provide diverse vocational, agricultural and entrepreneurial skills training for secondary school students during the long vacation.
Obayan said that the students would be entitled to a stipend in the course of the training.
“This programme has been deliberately designed to engage students in productive activities during their long vacation period thereby stopping them from taking to anti-social conducts,” he said.
River State governor, Ben Ayade, said that the programme was in line with the state government agenda of reducing employment by engaging graduates and non graduates in meaningful and employability activities.
Ayade who was represented by Mrs Tina Abgor, the Secretary to the State Government, advised the students to take the training seriously, saying that white collar jobs were fast disappearing in the country.