The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has charged policymakers on technology-focused skills empowerment programmes that groom youths in specialised technical fields such as digital skills and core artisanal vocations to enable them contribute to national development.
The governor, who said this in commemoration of the African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property marked every September 13, stressed the need for robust programmes to harness the energies of youths in the fourth industrial revolution, which thrives on the knowledge economy.
He added that “though a lot of young people lack jobs, there are actually opportunities for skilled labour if youths, even graduates, can be retrained, through well-thought-out, immersive programmes to deploy their theoretical knowledge in exploring the uncharted opportunities in skills-oriented vocations.”
He argued that it is pertinent to arrive at these innovative solutions to unemployment because of the urgency of the task to transform the Nigerian economy into a thriving, solution-driven industrialised country.
According to him, “As we mark the African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property, it is important to stress the need to expand the industrial base by co-opting educated but unemployed university graduates to solve the problems of paucity of skilled labour. We stand a better chance of having innovative solutions to problems when these set of people bring their diverse sets of skills in unlocking the opportunities for skilled labour.
He said that the Edo State government has already started this with the aggressive drive to train and retrain job seekers for opportunities in different vocations, equipping them with in-demand skill set through its EdoJobs initiative.
“Much as we have done a lot to train secondary school leavers, we are also keen on retraining university-educated job seekers on new skill areas to enable them tap into the opportunities being created in the state, especially as we require specialised skills in the quest for industrialisation,” he said.