Delta State government has sustained its Job and Wealth Creation Programme which its pilot scheme commenced in 2015/2016 and now successful beneficiaries of the programme are boasting of world-class products even as they trace their growth and achievements to the superlative training and empowerment they had.
Among the over 5,000 youths so far trained and empowered to own and run their various enterprises is 33-year-old Chinwike Nwankwo who now produces fish from his farm, Chinwinkxfarms, where he also boasts of engaging six youths as staff.
Nwankwo, who hails from Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state, has a masters degree in Technical Education but also has passion for fishery which made him grab the opportunity to be trained and empowered in fishery under the Youth Agricultural Enterpreneurs Programme (YAGEP) of the Job and Wealth Creation Programme.
Through his enterprise, he is now contributing to the growth of the state and nation’s economy through fishery as he now owns 13 plots of land as against the initial four plots allotted to him as a start-up five years ago.
“Before I was enrolled into the programme I had a fish farm and 200 fingerlings. On graduation, the state government empowered me with 2,000 fingerlings. Today, I have over 12,000 fishes in my fish farm. We now have what we call a ‘Fish House’ where you come in for your varieties of fishes, crayfish and stockfish. We are also exporting our products outside Nigeria,” he said in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay in Asaba.
“One good thing about the programme was that the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, ensured individuals of Delta origin came from outside the country to teach us using global standard best practices. They did not teach us based on how things are done here in Nigeria. They so much broadened our horizon,” he said.
He said his wife, Florence, studied fishery in the higher institution but she has passion for fashion and designing, leading to her being trained as well in her area of interest.
Luck smiled on Florence and she was enrolled into Skills Training Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) of the job creation programme by the state government this year, and has been empowered following her graduation from a three-month training. She already has her own clients, he explained.
He advised unemployed graduates in the country never to feel or think that their education is a waste.
“They should not think education is a scam as most youths believe today. Education is never a scam. Higher education gives exposure and makes one dynamic,” he said.
“With my exposure to technical education, I was able to organise seminars, train and teach people. I spent a year and a half doing teaching jobs before job creation opportunity came in 2015/2016.
“With the technical exposure I had, I am still lecturing people on fish farming and production and anybody I teach must understand,” he said.