“I have almost given up on life. I am a graduate of almost five years and searching for job, the physical and psychological effect of not getting any, has turned me into an old man, even my contemporaries call me ‘Agba’ (elder) even when they know I’m their contemporary. But now hope has come”.
This was Kehinde Obanla, one of the beneficiaries of the two week vocational training programme sponsored by the Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District in the Senate and Senate Minority Whip, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon.
The project was executed in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Youths and Social Development.
Obanla who spoke to journalists at one of the locations of the training programme – the Mushin Constituency Office of Senator Solomon at Olateju Street, stated that the training he is gathering at the centre as a disk installer has convinced him that he can make it as a professional if the training is strictly applied after he leaves the training centre.
“This is the first time I will come to vocational training programme that I will not only be given good food but will also be given transport fare daily. This indeed is unique and it shows that the Senator is hell bent on wiping out poverty. This programme is out of the world,” Adeola Alasela, a bead making trainee told journalists also at Olateju.
For her, it has become obvious that bead making is a lucrative venture which would not only make her self employed but also become employer of labour. “Thank you Senator Solomon, I will continue to pray for you daily. You have indeed alleviate my poverty,” she said.
A teenager at Oriade Centre of the teaining programme told journalists that she was particularly encouraged to be part of the programme because of the assurance that they would be presented with the tools of their trade after completing the programme.
“You see, this is a unque programme. The fact that we will be given the tools of our trade to set up after the training really fires me up. In the past, we have not seen the benefits of these kinds of programme because people just learnt and have nothing to practice. But with this, I can become not only self employed but also an employer of labour,” the teenager who was training as a fashion designer said.
Over all, their praises and encomium were profuse for the Senator. “He has really shown that he is a lover of the masses and we will continue to give him our support in whatever he does,” they chorused.
The programme was co-sponsored by Senator Solomon and the Federal Ministry of Youths and Social Development to provide opportunities for youths and women to engage themselves in one vocation or the other.
“This is a training programme meant to instil in the trainees the skills involve in one vocation or the other. The idea is for them to apply the skills they gain at the training and become self employed rather than combing the streets for white collar jobs which are not really existing,” Senator Solomon said at the opening ceremony.
Over 1,000 people spread across all the local government and local council development areas of the Lagos West Senatorial District are benefitting from the programme which is taking place at two centres: Mushin and Satellite Town.
The participants are undergoing training in vocations such as: fashion designing, knitting, beads and wire works, dish installation, cake-baking and decorations among others.
The training programme is being handled by Stable Technology Limited, a consulting firm and the instructors were busy at their work at the two centres when the journalists visited.
The journalists were informed that at the end of the programme, some of the participants would be provided with the tools of their trade paving way for them to become small scale entrepreneur and likely employers of labour on their own.
“If 80 percent of the beneficiaries of this programme apply their knowledge and make use of it after graduating from here, you know the number of people that have been taken off the unemployment list, not to talk of the multiplier effect of those who will go on to employ workers and those who will go on to train another set of people in their various vocations. For us therefore, the idea is to teach people how to fish rather than giving them fish to eat,” Senator Solomon said.
The flag off ceremony was a brief but impressive affair. The participants were resplendent in their green t-shirts as they queued up in front of the centre listening with rapt attention to the instructors and officials from the Federal Ministry of Youths and Social Development present at the occasion.
On hand to address them were not only the Senator but also an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Lagos State, Alhaji Kola Oseni; the Chairman of Odiolowo/Ojuwoye LCDA, Aremo Yemi Alli; and Chairman of Mushin Local Government, Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan.