The Imo State Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma has flagged- off the second edition of the Imo SKILL-UP digital training programme, Cohort 2 for 15,000 Imo youths, reiterating his administration’s irrevocable commitment to laying a solid foundation for youths to deploy their acquired digital skills anywhere they go and excel accordingly.
Launching the programme at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Thursday, May 4, 2023, the Governor emphasised that the welfare of youths is central to the prosperity agenda of his government, as they represent the present and future generation of Imo State.
He disclosed that the success recorded with the first edition, Cohort 1, had come to the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, the multinational national companies such as Coca Cola and others.
For example, he said Imo State has attracted a grant of a million dollars ($1m) from Coca Cola as a result of the investment in digital economy and that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is poised to support the programme and ensure graduation and proper equipping of the trainees.
Governor Uzodimma recalled that 5000 youths were trained and graduated in Cohort 1, empowered with lap tops and other start-up kits based on their chosen areas of specialization.
He noted that the step to achieving the target of graduating 100,000 youths in digital skills can only be realised with the encouragement of participants.
The Governor said: “Today we are flagging off 15,000 young men and women with plans at top gear to ensure that we shall achieve before the end of this year, 100,000 milestone within our implementation programme. To this end, l have directed the Ministry of Digital Economy and E-Government to explore necessary collaborations considered expedient to ensure increased access to SKILL-UP Imo programme for all Imo State residents and citizens.
“On graduation, not only will we give you start up kits but also Professional Certificates that will be recognised anywhere in the world.
“The Professional Certificate will make the world look for you and not you looking for the World.”
He assured that the same intense digital, entrepreneurial marketing and literacy training undergone by the Cohort 1 batch will also be undergone by Cohort 2 in basic, intermediate and advance level of courses for the next 6-12 weeks, to enable them compete favorably with their counterparts in any part of the world.
Governor Uzodimma expressed his desire that “between 2022- 2026, as a result of the SKILL-UP Imo programme, more than 500 billionaires under 35 years will be produced in Imo State.This is because what the global literature has recognised is not literacy but enterprise,” noting that ideas rule the world.
“Ideas and creative thinking is the key word.
The idea is up-skilling and re-skilling to graduate at least 100,000 youths per year.”
He begged the participants to make the sacrifice for which the 8-10 weeks will not cheat them.
“Learn the Course, acquire the knowledge and then leave the rest to my government,” he charged them, saying “this will enable you contribute to the economic development of Nigeria and the world at large.”
“The programme will help to engender peace because by the time the 100,000 youths are removed from the unemployment market, Imo State will be safe, Nigeria will be safe and the economy will improve,” he added.
The Governor said the Skill–Up Programme has nothing to do with political party, zone or where one comes from hence, he appealed to the youths to convince their parents to allow them acquire the necessary skills for their future.
He commended the efforts of the Commissioner for Digital Economy and E-Government and the Resource Persons for their commitment to the success of the programme and for a job well done.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Digital Economy and E-Government, Dr. Chimezie Amadi said the objective of the training programme is to train 300,000 youths in the space of three years, graduating 100,000 each year.
He revealed that apart from the five learning centres in use, five more have been added to increase access to the training programme as directed by Governor Uzodimma and assured that “the mandate to train 100,000 each year will be realised by his Ministry.”
He listed the extra centres to include Imo State Polytechnic Omuma, K, O Mbadiwe University, Ogboko, College of Health Sciences, Amaigbo, Claretian University Nekede, and University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo.
Some of the beneficiaries of Cohort 1 who graduated last month shared their experiences and gains from the training.
Miss Chioma Onuoha, Mr. Cletus Munachimso, and Mr. Chuks Godwin, individually thanked Governor Uzodimma for the life changing experience they got from the training programme. They said the training had positioned them to be earning money from their skills.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor