The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has graduated 540 skilled youths as the first batch of trainees in its skills acquisition programme tagged the Lagos State Employability Support Project (LSESP).
The trainee graduates who were all awarded a certificate endorsed by both the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) and the Australian Vocational training and Employment Group (AVTEG), at the graduation ceremony/job fair of the Lagos State Employability Project (LSESP) which held in Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos, today, Thursday, March 15, 2018, had undergone weeks of intensive trainings by season facilitators across different sectors.
Speaking at the event, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, said through the successful graduation of the 540 trainees, his administration was laying the necessary foundations for steady and sustainable economic growth in Lagos State.
The Governor added that his administration has identified skills acquisition as a sure pathway to economic prosperity and personal development of the burgeoning youths in the State, adding that his administration will continue to support initiatives towards that drive.
He further stated that the initiative was one of the primary goals of the LSETF set up by his administration two years ago to address the issue of unemployment among youths.
He expressed excitement that while many residents and entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the fund, the LSESP was providing a viable platform to bridge the gap of shortage of skilled and employable labour required to fill the needs of the job market and also provide 10,000 new jobs for youths by 2019.
“While the business ecosystem in the State has improved over the years, a manpower skills gap remains a significant issue for businesses operating in Lagos. Several firms and industries across the country are unable to find graduates and non-graduates with requisite skills to fill key positions. Paradoxically, there are thousands of unemployed youths out there desperate to find a job, any job.
“The Employability Support Project will continue to support these young men and women through job placement initiatives. With twin aims of capacity building for Lagos State youths and the provision of employment opportunities for them, the project aims to provide 10,000 new jobs by 2019,” he said.
In her welcome address, Chairman of the LSETF, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru said the Employability Project was the result of a partnership between the LSETF and the UNDP to improve the technical and vocational training outcomes in the State with an aim to increase employment opportunities for young people in Lagos.
“This event is a culmination of a journey that started in November 2016 resulting in the signing of an MOU with the UNDP in May 2017. UNDP provided LSETF a grant of $1million to complement the Fund’s contribution of $3million towards an employability project in Lagos State,” she said.
She commended private companies including Dangote Group, Construction Kaizer, Samsung, Crown Nature Plc, Whispering Palms, Farenheit Hospitality, X3M group and Summit Chanrai Group who participated, adding that since the application process opened in December 2017, over 13,000 applications were received across six sectors including Garment Making, Hospitality, Construction, among others.
She also disclosed that 20 per cent of the graduates have already received job offers from employers, while efforts are ongoing to match the remaining graduates with other supporting firms.
Okauru, however, seized the occasion to call on Nigerians, the organized private sector, multi-lateral organisations, non-governmental organisations to join the quest by the State Government to expand employment opportunities in the State across all sectors of the economy.
The highpoint of the event was the announcement of immediate employment and presentation of letters to 150 graduates of the project by some of the participating private firms, while commitments for over 600 more jobs were made by Chief Executives of various private organizations in attendance.