The Plateau State government on Friday in Jos graduated 500 youths after three months of training in 11 trades, including poultry, catering , tailoring, cosmetology, aluminum works, welding and fabrication, leather works, fishery, barbing, hairdressing, information and Communication Technology.
The training was organized by the Plateau State Micro Finance Development Agency (PLASMIDA) in partnership with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
Gov. Simon Lalong urged the youths to make good use of their training to create opportunities for themselves and for others, so as to alleviate poverty, saying, “I expect that within the shortest possible time, you will be employers of labour as you make progress.”
He said that the beginning would be tough, but they should be determined to strive ahead in spite of the challenges they may face in the process.
Lalong advised them to continuously take advantage of the various ongoing skills acquisition trainings in the state, to get empowered for productivity, rather than engage in criminality, stating that his administration was committed to developing manpower and empowering people for self reliance .
The governor disclosed that the first phase of the training commenced in February, 2019, where more than 7,500 beneficiaries were trained and provided with N12,000 grant each.
According to him, his commitment to skills development prompted the establishment of two additional technical schools, bringing the number of the schools to three in the state.
” Such determination has seen us also retool our education, to focus on skills development as we are building two more technical schools in Shendam and Pankshin, in addition to the one we have in Bukuru,” he said.
He lamented the vandalism on the technical school, Bukuru by hoodlums, during the EndSARS protests, saying that such incidents would not deter his resolve to ensure that youths were empowered to use their gifts of talent and energy.
The governor noted that Plateau had been a leading light on the local and International stages, since the commencement of the National Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), with her indigenes winning with their Innovations, pointing out that the state was currently implementing the federal government’s Survival Fund, under which more than 4,000 beneficiaries from the state would access N30,000 each for their businesses.
He also announced that Plateau had qualified to access $20 Million Dollars, to empower communities through infrastructure development, provision of farm inputs and conditional transfers, among others, to reduce the hardship posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks, the Director General of PLASMIDA, Dr Haggai Gutap said the training was to empower people, following global challenges posed by the pandemic, adding that the agency would focus on developing the entertainment industry in the state because of its potentials of employment generation and multiplier effect on the economy.
He said PLASMIDA had been engaging movie makers, musicians and other stakeholders in the entertainment value chain to make the goal a reality.
“We are trying to register an organization called “Nollywood Plateau Center” to strengthen the value chain through the organization,” he said.
Gutap also said Plateau would soon commence the first edition of MSMEs awards in the state, which would showcase potentials and encourage Plateau people to continue doing well in the industry, while urging the beneficiaries not to adopt the get-rich-quick syndrome and sell their starter packs because the packs were meant to help them establish themselves and cater to their needs.
Mr Saminu Sambo, a previous beneficiary of the training, said he was able to establish a cosmetology factory that supplies products to Plateau, Bauchi and Nasarawa states. He urged the beneficiaries to be serious in their chosen field, noting that he currently has seven employees.
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