Beneficiaries of the Delta State Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) who have completed their 6 months training in their chosen vocational skills have undergone a post-training proficiency test to qualify them for their starter packs.
The two day test which is the first of its kind in the programme took place simultaneously in different training centres in Asaba, Agbor and Kwale for 48 trainees in Fashion Design and Tailoring; ICT; Welding and Fabrication and Electrical Installation and Repairs.
Speaking on behalf of the state government, the Co-ordinator of STEP in the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, Mr Onyeisi Nkenchor, disclosed that the post-training proficiency test is an innovation packaged to strengthen the capacity of the STEP trainees and to ensure that trainees who participated in hands-on training at different training centres in the state were fully empowered to utilise the experience and skills acquired during training.
“The Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer has added a new element to the cycle of training. This is called the Post-Training Proficiency Test which entails practical testing of the graduates to ensure that they have reasonable proficiency in the skills for which they were trained,” he explained.
He said 48 graduates of the 2018/2019 six months Green STEP trainees comprising 30 persons in Fashion Design and Tailoring; 11 in Welding and Fabrication; 3 in Electrical Installations and Repairs and 4 in ICT were taken through the tests at different centres in Asaba, Agbor and Kwale.
A former Vice President of Nigeria and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubarkar Atiku, has called on the Federal Government to study and adopt the job and wealth creation module of Governor Okowa of Delta State.
Alhaji Atiku made the call recently at a two-day Job Creation Exhibition for beneficiaries of the Delta State Government’s Job Creation Scheme held in Asaba from 24thto 25thJanaury, 2019.
The job Creation Exhibition which is the second of its kind in the state was attended by about 700 beneficiaries, comprising entrepreneurs trained and established through the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and by those from the Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP), Women Mobilization, Micro Credit Akwa Ocha/Leather Works and Vocational and Technical Education Board (TVEB).
Represented at the event by his running mate, Mr Peter Obi, Alhaji Atikulauded the job creation initiative of Governor Okowa while on a tour of the Job Creation Exhibition stands of the beneficiaries.
In his words, “These wealth Creation Programmes are practical and realistic. The Federal Government should visit Delta State to understudy the schemes and implement them for the benefits of Nigerians and the speedy industrial revolution of the country. For peace to reign in Nigeria, we must create jobs for the youths as it is being done in Delta State. This Delta State job creation projects do not only train the youths, but mentor them, empower them and monitor them to become successful entrepreneurs. This is what we will do for our youths when we take over government.”
The PDP presidential flag bearer commended Governor Okowa’s administration for the initiative, assuring Nigerians that his administration would explore sustainable means to create wealth for Nigerians.
Earlier in his address at the indoor ceremony which witnessed the inauguration of 1,180 STEP and YAGEP beneficiairies in the 2018/2019 Cycle and launch of certified packaged Delta Garri for exports, the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, emphasized, “After three full cycles of implementing these flagship programmes, I can boldly say that we have inched closer towards our goal of a more prosperous, diversified and resilient economy.”
He said that the economic downturn on his assumption of office had threatened to abort and derailed his campaign promise of prosperity for all Deltans, but he remained resolute. “However, we refused to be deterred, convinced and confident that our novel job creation scheme, geared at nurturing, supporting and promoting micro, small and medium scale enterprises would trigger off economic growth, social inclusion and sustainable development. We commenced implementation of our enterprise development Programme in form of the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme.”
“There is no better evidence of this assertion than the scores of previously unemployed youths who have become successful entrepreneurs and are here today to exhibit their products and services. 4, 253 previously unemployed youths have become business owners across various skills areas, notably Catering & Confectionery; Decoration & Event Management; Hairdressing & Makeover; Cosmetology; Electrical Installation & Repairs; Tiling; Plumbing; Fashion Design & Tailoring; Agricultural enterprises as Piggery; Fish Production; Poultry; Crop Production among other enterprises,” he remarked.
While noting that the job creation efforts of his administration is a resounding success, Governor Okowa congratulated the beneficiaries of the programme for the success stories, he said some entrepreneurs raised by the programme had become employers of labour which multiplier effects on the family and that of the state remained significant,assuring that the number of beneficiaries will triple in the next four years..
Earlier the Honourable Commissioner for Finance and Chairman of the Job Creation Steering Committee, Dr. Kingsley Emu, thanked Governor OKowa for his commitment to creating jobs for Delta unemployed youths.
On his part, the Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh, urged Deltans to patronize the products and services of the exhibitors.
Delta State Government through its Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) has trained and established a total of seven hundred and eighty two (782) unemployed youths in various agricultural skills particularly in poultry, piggery, fishery and crop production across the state.
The Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh, disclosed this during a media tour to YAGEP Farm Clusters at Deghele, Ugbokode-Okpe and ADP, which he said the essence was to show the extent Governor Okowa’s administration was succeeding in using the job creation scheme to empower Delta youths, noting that the programme had run for three cycles and about to commence the fourth one.
According to Prof. Eboh, YAGEP is an integral element of twin strategy to solve youth unemployment and transform agricultural value chains in the state, pointing out that the training cuts across graduates, school leavers and persons with disabilities.
He said that the state has established a total of 25 farm enterprise clusters with the YAGEPreneurs as owners and managers of the enterprises across the state.
Prof. Eboh explained that these farm enterprises and clusters are vital for sustaining youth interest in agriculture and demonstrating improved agricultural technologies and practices and promoting enterprise viability as well as ensuring high levels of agricultural productivity and sustainability in the state.
He pointed out that the government of Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was succeeding in its use of agricultural value chain to affect the lives of Deltans as the cluster model is yielding desired impacts in transforming the agricultural landscape and agricultural prosperity in the state.
At Deghele YAGEP Rice Farm Cluster which was established in 2018 in Sapele Local Government Area, the Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eboh disclosed that the YAGEP rice farm occupied an expanse of forty-two hectares of land allocated to 21 YAGEPreneurs trained in Rice Production.
While conducting the media team round the farm where harvesting and threshing of rice were taking place by the YAGEPreneurs, he explained thus, “Delta YAGEP Rice will be launched very soon by His Excellency, the Governor. The YAGEPreneurs will be in Asaba to present the YAGEP rice to him. Delta State will soon join the league of rice producing states in the country with the 21 rice YAGEPreneurs at Deghele and another 27 at Mbiri in Sapele LGA and Ika North East LGA respectively.”
The YAGEP Officer at the cluster, Mr. Edoja Okeh, who spoke to our reporter said the harvest was still on-going, expressing hope of a bountiful harvest, “Out of the 42 hectares of rice farm in Deghele YAGEP Rice Cluster, only 6 hectares have been harvested with 100 bags of paddy rice awaiting winnowing, describing the cycle as successful.”
At Ugbokodo-Okpe YAGEP fish cluster in Okpe Local Government Area, Prof. Eboh also took journalists round the 244 fish ponds. He described Ugbokodo YAGEP Fish Farm Cluster as the largest fish cluster in the state.
While assuring them of government assistance at all times, he advised the YAGEPreneurs to live in peace with their host community, noting that the fish ponds were established with 154 fish ponds last year with an additional 90 ponds this year for a total of 122 YAGEPreneurs trained in Fish Production.
Speaking to the journalist in an interview during the visit, Mr. Victor Ukereti and Baya Gbayafabor, beneficiaries of the YAGEP programme commended the state for evolving such a laudable agricultural programme in the state. They called on youths to embrace the various developmental efforts of the state government and appealed that the programme be sustained in order to extend the training to other youths in the state.
In continuation of the media tour to the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in Oshimili North Local Government Area, the media team were also conducted round the 81 in-door tarpaulin fish tanks allocated to 27 YAGEPreneurs engaged in the 2017/2018 cycle.
Each YAGEPreneur in Fish Production was given 3 in-door tarpaulin fish tanks, 145 sbags of fish feeds of various sizes in tranches, 2000 juveniles, N15, 000 naira stipend for 9 months among other facilities.
The Delta State Government has organized a one day practical training on Fish Processing to twelve youths under its Brown Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP).
Each youth drawn from the three senatorial districts of the state was also given 2 fish smoking kilns, cash support of one hundred thousand naira and other technical support to set up business in Fish Processing.
The Resource Person, an Agricultural Engineer from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Dr. Emeka Chinwieze, said the training was aimed at impacting practical knowledge on modern techniques in fish processing to the YAGEPreneurs using modern fish smoking kiln fuelled with charcoal or gas.
Dr. Chinwieze added that the training will acquaint the beneficiaries with engineering concept of using standard, contamination-free processes and machine built with stainless steel to dry fish so as to meet international standard.
A beneficiary conveying her smoking kiln home
Each smoking kiln has a chimney, a thermometer, uses either gas or coal and has the capacity to dry a 100kg quantity of fish within 36 to 76 hours.
Also speaking, an Economist from FUTO, Prof. Jude Illechi, pointed out that the trainees could thrive in Fish Processing without engaging in fish production, stressing that the training was to help them add value and make fish more marketable locally and internationally.
He enjoined the trainees to take the training seriously in order to train other youths interested in setting up businesses in Fish Processing.
On her part, the Communication Officer in the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, Mrs Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh, explained that the twelve trainees were selected from Brown YAGEPreneurs engaged by the state government in the 2018/2019 Programme Cycle.
She emphasized that each beneficiary would receive 2 fish smoking kilns, hundred thousand naira, one night accommodation and transport fare and other items to enable them to begin their enterprises.
Two of the beneficiaries, Ruth Ologe (Ughelli North) and Ofure Edema (Warri South) commended the state government for the opportunity to be trained in Fish Processing, pledging to put the knowledge gained and their smoking kilns into good use.
Rice is one of the priority agricultural commodities in Crop Production, a branch of the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP). YAGEP was established to create decent and gainful youth employment through the agricultural value chain, boost agricultural productivity as well as diversify the economy of the state. This is one of the implementation strategies of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s vision for job creation in fulfilment of his prosperity agenda for all Deltans. Under the YAGEP, a total of seven hundred and fifty seven (757) previously unemployed youths have been trained, established in 25 farm clusters across the state and mentored in agricultural enterprises over three successive years/cycles of implementation – 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/2018.
Like other priority agricultural commodities as poultry, cassava, aquaculture and vegetables, rice has comparative advantage to boost the social and economic landscape and transform the agricultural value chains in Delta State. To this end, the YAGEP rice initiative started in 2017 with the cultivation of 74 hectares of land at Ugili-Amai in Ndokwa West Local Government Area. Subsequently in 2018, the initiative involved the cultivation of 96 hectares of rice farm- 42 hectares at Deghele, Sapele Local Government Area and 54 hectares at Mbiri, Ika North East Local Government Area. A total of 48 trainees were trained and established in these two rice farm clusters, 21 at Deghele and 27 at Mbiri. These 48 trainees worked under close tutorials, facilitation and guidance of the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer through knowledgeable and experienced resource persons from within and outside the state.
It is worthy to note that the rice value chain initiative involved instructional and field-based training, farm enterprise incubation and establishment of youths through the entire process of rice production, processing, packaging, branding and marketing. The programme activities included soil testing and site selection, land preparation (clearing, ploughing and harrowing), seed treatment and planting, soil treatment, weeds prevention and control, fertilizer application, prevention and control of pests and diseases and birds scaring. Other operations were harvesting (cutting and packing), threshing, drying, winnowing, washing/parboiling, milling, destoning and packaging/bagging. The cultivation, harvesting, threshing, drying, parboiling, milling, destoning and bagging operations were carried out with participation of the YAGEPreneurs. All the inputs, technologies and materials used in the rice production and processing and packaging operations were provided by the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer.
Speaking on the gains of establishing youths in cluster farms, the Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh said, “The advantages cannot be overemphasized. As you can see, the Delta State Government is transforming the agricultural landscape of the state through the establishment of cluster farms across the state. Some of the advantages include an improved programme targeting as a result of high concentration of many YAGEPreneurs in one location; enhancement in the operational efficiency of the programme in terms of value for money and value for efforts and enabling growth, collaboration, peer-learning and cooperation among the YAGEPreneurs and in the long run boost agricultural productivity and wealth creation.” Continuing, “The end game of the exercise is to have processed, packaged Delta YAGEP Rice. Market for Delta YAGEP Rice will not be a problem. Beneficiaries will not have challenges because the rice is of high quality. The whole quantity will be bought up before they get into the market. In Delta State, there is deficit in rice cultivation and we are supporting our YAGEPreneurs to bridge that gap“, he emphasized.
One of the YAGEPreneurs, Beauty Adibeli described the experience as wonderful. “If given the opportunity, I will bring more youths into the field of agriculture, especially rice production.” For Matthew Obriki,” I am an NCE holder. I studied Agricultural Education and graduated from College of Education, Warri where the Delta State Government through the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, compiled the names of best agricultural science graduates for the YAGEP programme. I was enrolled in 2016. We began rice production from Ugili-Amai in Ndokwa West Local Government Area. I want to appreciate the state government for this opportunity.
Delta YAGEP Rice, packaged in 10-kg packs, have been presented to the initiator of the job creation programme, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa. The actualization of this milestone deserves commendation, especially to His Excellency, the Governor for providing the resources, leadership and enabling environment for the accomplishment of this milestone.
Beneficiaries of the 2018 Cycle of the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) have commenced another round of training tagged, ‘Entrepreneurship and Business Management Training’ (EBMT) in continuation of the packages lined up for beneficiaries of the Delta State Governments job creation programmes.
The three days training taking place at Songhai Delta, Amukpe is to engage the 2018 Cycle beneficiaries of STEP and YAGEP who have completed their three months vocational training of their chosen skills in the various training centres spread across the state.
Giving an overview of the training, the Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh, said that EBMT was one of the three components packages of the job creation programme and that it was to engage beneficiaries on how to successfully start, manage and grow their enterprises as start-ups.
He outlined the other components as the Orientation and Personal Effectiveness Training (OPET) and the Practical Skills either vocational and agriculture training.
Beneficiaries engaged in the training included those in vocational skills (STEP) such as Tiling, Plaster of Paris (POP), Interlocking, Catering and Confectionary, Hairdressing and Makeover, Audio-Visual Technology, and Decoration and Event Management.
Those in YAGEP were trained in Rice Production, Fish Production and Vegetable/Tomato Production.
He remarked that their counterparts in Electrical Installation and Repairs, Plumbing, Fashion Design and Tailoring, Information Communication and Technology (ICT,) Welding and Fabrication whose training duration was for six months were still on training in their vocational training centres.
He noted that seasoned resource persons had been engaged to help them with practical tips on how to overcome challenges that could arise as start-ups, stressing that the first three years of any business was very critical.
He encouraged them to use the opportunity of the training to build relationship and network among themselves so as to grow faster.
The EBMT featured lectures such as Starting Your STEP/YAGEP Enterprise Well, Roadmap for Business Success, How to Nurture a Baby Business, Business Start-Up Clinics, How to Develop Your Business Plan, Finding and Learning from Mentors for Business Start-up and Growth, How to find and Manage Money for your Business, How I Grew My Business from Starter Pack to a Thriving Enterprise and My Success Story in STEP
Others were Principles of Keeping Basic Business Records and Accounts, Exercises in Keeping Basic Business Records and Accounts and Starter Pack is Vital, A Difference with Starter Pack is PLUS.
Delta State Governments Gives Farm Input to Support Brown YAGEPreneurs
The Delta State Government has given support/farm input to beneficiaries of Brown Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) engaged in the 2018/2019 Cycle.
In his remark at the venue of handing out of the farm input to the beneficiaries, the Coordinator of YAGEP in the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, Mr Samuel Ndinkanwu, said 145 youths engaged in four agricultural enterprises have so far benefitted from the state government Brown YAGEP in the 2018/2019 Cycle.
Mr Ndinkanwu explained that the youths drawn from the 25 local government areas of the state are farmers in Poultry, Fish Production, Piggery and Crop Production, adding that they were carefully identified with the view of strengthening their enterprises to make them sustainable and employers of labour.
Giving out bird feeds to 55 beneficiaries in the Poultry enterprise, he disclosed that each Brown YAGEPreneur received either 400 point of lay and 60 bags of feeds or 400 day old broilers and 150 bags of feeds; drinkers; feeders; medication and trainings.
He pointed out that YAGEP has Green and Brown programmes, describing Green YAGEP as youths who had no previous knowledge of farming, but were trained and established by the state government while Brown YAGEP were young existing farmers who were identified, given refresher courses and supported with farm input to strengthen and to make their farm enterprises viable.
Two of the beneficiaries, Alex Omesiele and Tracy Amunike expressed their gratitude to the state government for the opportunity given to them to expand their poultry enterprises, urging other youths to embrace agriculture to help drive the state government’s commitment towards economic diversification.
Job Creation: Delta State Government to Engage 1420 Unemployed Youths in the 2018/2019 Cycle.
Delta State Government is to engage not less than 1, 420 previously unemployed youths in its 2018/2019 job creation programme through STEP and YAGEP.
The Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof Eric Eboh, disclosed this during a one-day workshop organised for Brown STEP trainers by the Office of the Chief Job Creation officer in Asaba.
The Brown STEP trainers who were 141 in number covered various enterprises such as Welding & Fabrication; Aluminium Works; Fashion Design & Tailoring; Catering & Confectionary; Bead Making; Decoration & Event Management; Hairdressing & Makeover, Interlocking, Tiling & POP including eight STEPreneurs who have grown to become job creation trainers.
Prof Eboh said the 2018/2019 Cycle which is the 4thcycle will consist of Brown STEP, Green STEP and Brown YAGEP.
He congratulated them for their selection as trainers for the 2018/2019 Cycle, stating that the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme has been upgraded into two categories, Green and Brown STEP.
He described Green STEP as beneficiaries who do not have knowledge of the trade but are desirous of acquiring the skill over a period of time depending on their choice enterprise.
On the other hand, he explained that Brown STEP category are those harvested from their training centres and those who have trained themselves through personal sponsorship, but require refresher course and assistance to be established in their chosen enterprises, adding that the training/refresher course for the Brown STEP category would last for six weeks.
While commending them for their contributions to the success of the programme, he advised them to abide by the code of conduct guiding the programme and to uphold the ethics of quality, discipline and integrity which the programme is known for.
He affirmed that since inception of the programme in the past three years, a total of 3069 unemployed youths have been trained and established in their choice enterprises while another 1,420 youths are to be engaged in the 2018/2019 Cycle.
He said the job creation programme has gained both national and international recognition with the revalidation of the 2017/2018 Cycle for partnership through World Bank/European Union assisted SEEFOR projects.
The workshop featured question/answer and technical sessions.