Savouring and Sustaining the Fruits of Job Creation
As at date, the State Government’s flagship job creation programmes – Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) - have successfully run the first cycle, that is, 2015 round, with the harvest of first fruits – STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs. Resulting from this success, the Delta State job creation model (STEP and YAGEP) is eliciting a lot of interest from a wide range of stakeholders, specifically, the target clientele (unemployed youths), private sector establishments, non-governmental organisations and international development partners.
In line with the promise of His Excellency the Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, to run the job creation programmes on a continuous basis, the second cycle, that is, 2016 round, is ongoing. With a target intake of 1,000 unemployed youths, the 2016 cycle of programme implementation is actualizing some reform measures aimed at improving training and organization and streamlining the support for enterprise start-up.
The completion of the first cycle and commencement of the second cycle marks a critical juncture for stocktaking, reality checks and lessons learning. To help our reflection and forward-looking, we should answer the questions: What has worked? Which are the winning factors? How do we build upon the first fruits?
In retrospection, I can reveal, from my vantage position as the day-to-day manager of the job creation programme, that the critical drivers of success of STEP and YAGEP are namely;
• the accuracy in selecting the intended target beneficiaries
• the all-encompassing nature and high quality of training;
• enforcement of discipline among the trainers and trainees;
• integrity of the enterprise starter packs;
• and good handling of complaints, that is, efficient feedback response mechanism.
These effectiveness drivers would not have existed at all without the fundamental success enablers, which are the innovative institutional framework, conducive working atmosphere and sound political leadership provided by Governor Okowa.
Moreover, the success drivers are underpinned by the fact that, from a philosophical standpoint, the programme design and implementation are traineecentred, service-oriented and results-based. In the same wise, every design element and implementation measure is focused primarily on turning unemployed youths into entrepreneurs, leaders and managers. The
STEP and YAGEP training and mentoring process aim beyond raising entrepreneurs, to producing leaders and managers that have high levels of personal responsibility and personal effectiveness.
As we savour the first fruits of these programmes, it is equally vital to ponder about sustaining and enhancing effectiveness and impacts. Hence, the thematic focus of this edition of the OkowaPlus is very auspicious and functional. The rationale for the thematic focus is to respond to the present information and enlightenment needs of stakeholders as they reflect on the past and look forward.
So, in line with the goal of enlightening stakeholders with programme updates, this third edition of OkowaPlus features, among others, testimonies and action illustrations of STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs regarding their respective enterprises. In addition to the demonstration effects, the testimonies and illustrations have powerful motivating influence on new and upcoming entrants – features that are critical for justifying public spending, sustaining public confidence and eliciting greater stakeholder support.
Beyond the testimonies and illustrations, however, the decisive factor in sustaining the fruits of STEP and YAGEP is the extent to which the trio ingredients of implementation success are upheld – quality, integrity and discipline. In all, reflecting on the past and looking to the future, I make a clarion call to all stakeholders to see it as a collective responsibility to preserve these success ingredients.
Prof. Eric Eboh
Chief Job Creation Officer