Two retirees – Mrs. Majekodunmi Bolanle, 66, and Mrs. Kuburat Animashaun, 64 – have taken up new craft to keep their hands busy and refresh their minds.
The grandmothers voluntarily enrolled at the Lagos State Skill Acquisition Centre in Agidingbi to upgrade their skill set, picking up a new vocation in computer operations and software.
The senior citizens were among the 4,592 trainees graduated by the Lagos State Government on Wednesday in various skill acquisition courses. The Year 2022 graduation ceremony was held at the LTV Blue Roof in Agidingbi. The graduands took the vocational training in 19 skill development centres across the five traditional divisions in Lagos. The course fees were borne by the State Government.
Cross section of graduands, tutors and other participants during the Y2022 graduation ceremony of 4,593 students of 19 Skill Acquisition Centres, at the De Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
The skill development programme was supervised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA). Some of the vocational courses taken by the graduates include photography, textile making, catering and hotel management, hairdressing, fashion designing, welding, aluminum fabrication, leather work, furniture and woodwork, among others.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the initiative was targeted at empowering the grassroots, while giving young people an opportunity to discover their innate potential and to be economically engaged.
He noted that the life skills would help the beneficiaries to be self-reliant, just as their entrepreneurial abilities would be enhanced and make them contribute to the economic growth of the State.
The Governor said: “There is no gainsaying that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of any economy, contributing to economic development and prosperity in many ways, chief among which is job creation and providing employment opportunities for people.
“We have continued to encourage vocational and skills acquisition as a pragmatic approach to alleviating poverty and promoting women and youth empowerment for financial sustainability. This administration will not hold back investment in these programmes, believing firmly that lifting people out of poverty is the cardinal goal of Government.”
Sanwo-Olu advised the graduands to use the skills to raise their living standards, urging them to pass on the knowledge to empower their neighbours.
The Governor told the trainees to believe in their abilities and strive for excellence, pointing out that the road to success had no shortcut. He added that the training was made free for them to remove barriers that may hinder them from acquiring the skills.
Sanwo-Olu said the State Government created the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) to support the goals of MSMEs, urging the graduates to approach the offices for business support and opportunities.
“We set up the Ministry of Wealth Creation to hand-hold entrepreneurs and provide support for them. LSETF is another agency working to improve your business. You must show commitment that you are ready for the future. We want to see you in the next five years and be proud of this accomplishment you have achieved today,” the Governor said.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, advised the graduands to explore technology and social media in projecting their skills and business.
Hamzat said globalisation had shattered the economic barriers that had prevented people from showcasing their skills to the markets outside their geographical areas.
The Deputy Governor, however, cautioned the trainees from misusing the social media networks to project wrong image for their businesses.
Commissioner for WAPA, Mrs. Bolaji Dada, said the skill development programme was designed with the objective to fight poverty and improve livelihoods of the residents.
She urged the beneficiaries to channel their abilities to good enterprises, saying the State was expecting to unleash their potential in creating more prosperity.
She said: “Aside equipping them with modern skills, we also took them through business development and monitoring programme to guide the trainees in navigating the complexities of entrepreneurial space.”
The training produced 3,263 female graduates and 1,329 male graduates.
Nineteen Best Trainees across the vocational courses were presented with equipment to immediately start their crafts.