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Testimonials: Some Trainees Share Their Experiences

May 04 2016

My name is Karen Aruorivwo Arabaji. I am an Urhobo, precisely from Uvwie, Uvwie LGA in Delta State. I have completed my skill training (STEP) which started September, 2015 and ended December, 2015. I am a graduate of Political Science from Delta State University, Abraka and a single mother of two lovely children. I want to take you through my journey so that I can inspire future trainees. After I graduated from the university, I was in the labour market and had remained under-employed till 2015. I had a call from a friend who gave me an application form into the Delta State Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP). Though I collected the form, I was not sure I would be selected because I thought it would be based on favouritism. Finally, I filled the form and allowed God to do the rest. On a fateful day, I received a text message from Job Creation Office stating that I should go to Delta State University with my credentials for screening. It did not occur to me that it was real. I thought it was a scam till someone in church talked about it When I got to Abraka, I went straight to Campus II were I met a large crowd waiting to be interviewed. I said to myself, “if we have this kind of crowd here, I can imagine the kind of crowd in other centers. I then concluded that I did not stand the chance of being admitted into the programme. I was interviewed by a lady who asked to see the originals of all my credentials and then she looked into my form and said, “from what I see here, you filled Catering and Confectionary as your first choice, Fashion Designing, your second choice while Decoration and Event Management is your third choice.” I answered “yes madam.” Then she told me, “young lady, looking at you I think fashion will suit you because of the way you combined your accessories with your outfit.” So I smiled and said, “Madam, I have great passion for baking and cooking; I don’t mind if I expand my knowledge in it.” She asked me several questions and told me I could leave. Few days later, I got a message from Job Creation Office, congratulating me on my success in the screening and requesting that I prepare for a week Orientation Course in Songhai Delta in Amukpe. I almost collapsed. I told my cousins to wake me up from my dream that the text was a mistake, but I was wrong. On my first day in Amukpe, I saw a large crowd waiting to be attended to. We were grouped according to our different local government areas and we were attended to by different Job Creation officers simultaneously. I was number one on the list in my local government so I was attended to first. I was given a tag, a bed sheet and a pillow case and I was given a meal ticket card with which I collected food throughout my stay. I was also given a room number. When I got to my room, I met my roommates arranging their things and I joined them. The dinner that evening was good and I realized that the programme was for real and that the Governor and the Job Creation Office were really out to make this programme a success. After dinner, we were all informed through text message to gather at the hall for a brief welcome and briefing. The following day, we were asked to come for our writing materials, t-shirts (2 each) and also (2) face caps were given to us both blue and white. Thereafter, lectures commenced and we were expected to take notes and ask questions. Seasoned resource persons were invited to teach us. The lectures were really inspiring. Each day, we had lectures, breaks and three square meals. We had constant light; we had the opportunity to go round Songhai to see the Poultry, fish pond, the palm trees etc. Our amiable Governor, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa together with other dignitaries graced the opening ceremony with all other dignitaries. That day was when I actually realized that it was not a dream anymore but reality. Both the Governor and some dignitaries took their time to encourage and advise us. At the end of the orientation I was richer in knowledge. l was paid my monthly stipend with which I paid my transport fare. I was posted to Chommy Confectionary where we were all welcomed. We introduced ourselves and started lectures immediately we got there that same day. She introduced us to basic working tools for baking and also refreshed our memories on nutrition. Every day after lectures, we were given a log card to sign and write what we learnt for the day. Our trainer really took her time to teach us important things we needed to know to help us start our own businesses. I learnt both national and intercontinental dishes like onugbu, ukodo, curry sauce, white sauce etc. We also learnt how to bake different types of cakes like fruit cakes, sponge cake, red velvet cake etc. We also learnt sugar craft that is how to ice celebration cakes for different festive activities. We learnt how to make pastries like meatpie, chinchin, cookies, hotdog, pizza and small chops like samosa, springroll, beef kebab, mosa etc. We also learnt how to make different types of cocktail drinks for occasion and smoothies. Trust me if you give me a contract right now to bake your wedding cake or to make small chops and cocktail drinks for your occasion, I will do it with my eyes closed and I will not even make mistakes. In addition, we were closely monitored, attendance was taken on daily basis and we had practical test. All these, we received on a platter of gold. Governor Okowa made it possible for us to learn with ease through maximum support. Now, I know one needs not wait for a white collar job. I advise young graduates who think agriculture and skill and acquisition are demeaning to have a rethink. I look forward to acquiring more knowledge, learn new recipes and designs which will make me attract more customers from all over the country, end up opening more branches and employing more people and teaching more generations to come how to prepare them for their own future. Finally, I have concluded the 3 months training and I am absolutely prepared to face the world with the knowledge gained. The training changed a lot about me. I have come out to testify about all I have learnt, not just to tell you stories but I took you down my story line so that lots of people can learn and know that it is not just about how you started but how well you end. I am happy I can give my kids a better future as a single mum and also employ and teach others. I would like to say a big thank you to our Governor, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, the Chief Job Creation Officer and other officers in the Job Creation office for taking their time to make this project a success. May God continue to bless you all and give you the strength and grace to continue the good work. It is really Prosperity for all Deltans. God bless you all.
Karen Aruorivwo Arabaji, STEP
My name is Ashibuogwu Lawrite Nkechi. I hail from Ubulu-Uku town in Aniocha Local Government Area in Delta State. My experience while I was trained in Electrical Installation / Electronics Repairs. Electrical Installation and Repairs is believed by many to be a masculine job and is not suitable for the female gender, but for me it is a different opinion because I have interest in it. During my course of study at the university, though I studied Electrical Installation/ Electronics Repairs, I was not satisfied with the knowledge acquired because I needed to know more practically. The former knowledge acquired was basically on the theoretical part of electrical installation/electronic repairs. One fateful day in Ebonyi State, Abakaliki, where I served as a corps member, I visited a Deltan friend who was also a corps member. During the course of our discussion, he told me about the skills training programme of the state government of Delta State. I was interested, made more enquires about the programme and obtained a form, choosing Electrical Installation/elEectronic Repairs as my option because I saw the programme as an opportunity to acquire the practical skill I long desired for. Few months later, after my NYSC Programme, I was in Delta State when I receive a text message from the office of the Chief Job Creation Officer requesting for my presence for an interview for the STEP (Skills Training Entrepreneurship Programme.) I attended the interview with my heart filled with joy. On getting there, I saw thousands of youths who also came for the interview so I joined them. After the interview, I went home with an expectant heart believing God for a miracle. I later got a text message from the same office congratulating me for being among the selected ones. I was invited to Songhai Delta, Amukpe for one week orientation. I was extremely happy. I went for orientation at Songhai Delta which was awesome. There I became fully convinced that the Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa is indeed ready to empower the youths. I was finally posted to an electrical workshop in Asaba (Respect and Sons Electrical Workshop) and the training was for 6 months. The first two weeks were a little bit boring because it was introduction of tools and materials but the other weeks were wonderful because each day was loaded with new ideas on electrical installation both on full conduits and half conduits. We go out for fieldwork almost every day and that was the aspect I enjoyed most in the training. It was wonderful with Respect and Sons Electrical. To me, this programme is a dream come true and I am saying thank you to the Governor of this state, Delta and to all who participated in initiating this programme. I have really learnt a lot and have improved my practical knowledge on electrical installation. My profound gratitude goes to the government of Delta State for putting smiles on my face.
Ashibuogwu Lawrite Nkechi, STEP
My name is Ossai, Monica Isioma (Phone Number: 07037368970). My Local Government Area is Ndokwa West. Iwas trained in Crop Farming, precisely vegetable. My personal experience during my internship at Ogwashi in Mr. Emeke Sam Farm was great. I was taught how to plant cabbage, ugu (pumpkin), beans, water melon, groundnut and the duration period of all these vegetable crops and I was also privileged to know how to take care of chicken and fish. So, I am happy for the opportunity to be trained in vegetable farming. Thanks.
Ossai, Monica Isioma , STEP
I was taught how to plant plantain, citrus, pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper and water melon. I have no regret being trained at Konum Farm at Amai. I enjoyed my training there because most of the chemicals I was exposed to like insecticides, herbicides and fungicides used in crops diseases and treatments were new to me. Being a crop farmer is interesting.
Malagu Chiyenum, STEP