- Five to Ten Years, the Fruits of “Sabificate” Will Show in Nigeria-Okowa
By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh and Laura Ese Oghene
1000 beneficiaries of the Delta State Government’s Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) enrolled in the 2020/2021 Programme Cycle have officially graduated from the programme.
The Graduation Ceremony which took place today February 3, 2022 in Asaba marked the end of the 2020/2021 Cycle.
The graduands were trained in various vocational skills such as Catering & Confectionary; Fashion Design & Tailoring, PoP; Screed-Making, Painting; Tiling and Interlocking; Welding and Fabrication; Electrical Installation and Solar Works; Hairdressing etc and in farm enterprises such as Piggery, Poultry, Fish and Crop Productions.
Addressing the beneficiaries, the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, congratulated the graduands for making him proud which encouraged him to continue with the programme.
“As a Governor, it is the success story of the first and second cycle that has continued to encourage the Job and Wealth Creation Bureau in the course of the STEP and YAGEP Programme.
“Looking back in 2015 when we started this programme, I have every reason to be relaxed and happy seeing that the programme has expanded over the years till this 6th cycle.
He specially thanked the pioneers of the programme for making him proud, pointing out that it was the success story of the first and second cycles that encouraged his government to go on with the programme.
“I must appreciate all the youths who have undergone this programme. You have made me proud as a governor. Because you have encouraged us, I know this programme must continue. I thank the legislators for legislating on the programme and for passing it into law,” he added.
He harped on the importance of using their “sabificates” rather than their certificates through acquisition of vocational skills to distinguish them from their counterparts.
In his word, “We may not know the exact impact of this programme now/ In another five to ten years, the fruits of our “sabificate” will begin to show not only in Delta State but in Nigeria as a whole.
Earlier, the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, the Head of the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau, Prof Eric Eboh, explained that the Graduation Ceremony was organized to mark the formal closure of the 2020/2021 Cycle of STEP and YAGEP, the sixth cycle in the job creation programme series since 2015.
He pointed out that the cycle covered 1,000 beneficiaries comprising 654 STEPreneurs and 346 YAGEPreneurs, including 25 Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), one selected from each of the 25 local government areas in the state.
According to him, “All 1,000 beneficiaries here today have been duly trained in occupational, entrepreneurial and business skills. Also, they have been given starter packs and shop rent support (in the case of STEPreneurs) or support packages and cash support for critical farm operations (in the case of YAGEPreneurs).
“Beneficiaries were given starter packs and support packages in batches upon successful completion of all the phases of training and fulfilling the eligibility requirements.”
While lauding the State Government for its job creation programmes, he said STEP and YAGEP have covered 6,074 beneficiaries from 2015 to date, in addition to the numbers who are beneficiaries of the expanding portfolio of the state government’s job creation and youth empowerment programmes through the Rural Youth Skills Acquisition (RYSA), Girl Child Entrepreneurship Skills Training (GEST), Women Entrepreneurship Skills Acquisition Programme (WESAP) and the Information Communication Technology-Youth Empowerment Programme (ICT-YEP.)
He noted that a sample of outstanding STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs have been published in the ‘STEP and YAGEP Hall of Fame,’ an informative reference and promotional tool designed to recognize and promote outstanding beneficiaries in an ongoing series.
“The sample of outstanding beneficiaries here today include three categories.
Outstanding STEPreneurs who have recorded remarkable growth, diversification and innovation of their enterprises, and some of them have become trainers under STEP, RYSA and GEST. Outstanding YAGEPreneurs who have shown distinctive progress of their farm enterprises in terms of production size, market space and product innovation.
“Persons with Disabilities [PwDs] STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs who have displayed remarkable determination and abilities in growing their enterprises and employing other persons. We envisage that bringing this array of role-model STEP & YAGEP alumni to this graduation ceremony will inspire our fresh graduands to business success”
He listed some institutional development tools developed and being applied by the bureau to ensure organizational and programme sustainability tools to include job creation bureau’s online programme management information system (MIS) which has two platforms, job creation website [deltastatejobcreation.ng] the Digital Programme Portal, an open-access online platform [deltastatejobcreation.net]
He said the second sustainability tool is the Job Creation Magazine series; the third tool, the satellite-based digital survey map of all verified YAGEP farm enterprises throughout the state and the number four tool is the five-year Masterplan of Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau.
Responding on behalf of the outstanding beneficiaries, Mr. Eromedoghene Ezekiel, who hails from Isoko North Local Government Area expressed gratitude to Governor Okowa for the opportunity to be trained and established by the government, saying that his business and those of his co- beneficiaries have grown.
He remarked that the STEP programme was genuine and well thought, appealing that the programme is sustained after Governor Okowa’s tenure in office.