No fewer than 5000 participants have graduated from third edition of the Lagos State employability and entrepreneurship programme tagged Ready Set Work 3.0.
Speaking to participants, volunteers and partners of the programme on Tuesday, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who is not eligible to compete for a second term in office after he was roundly defeated in his party’s primary election, said he was happy at how the programme had grown since it was initiated and that it should not be allowed to die.
Mr Ambode had initiated the 13-week programme in 2016 as means of preparing young adults in the state for the workplace. The programme kicked off with 500 participants and 52 volunteers but has since grown exponentially to the 5,000 participants, who graduated today.
Ready Set Work is held at three designated training centers in Lagos, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, and Lagos State Polytechnics (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu.
“I feel so excited, I got this right. I have made a difference. This is not about bridges, flyovers, it is not about hospitals. I feel so excited that I got this right,” Mr Ambode said.
“Programmes like Ready Set Work, Code Lagos, and the Employment Trust Fund must not be allowed to die,” he added.
Apart from the 13-week training, the programme also features a global challenge competition, business pitch competition and internship fair.
The Global Challenge competition sponsored by BusinessDay Newspaper is a sort of quiz which revolves around issues of different sectors including business and economy, politics, current affairs, entertainment, sports and others with five representatives from each of the centres.
A team of five representatives from each centre compete in the challenge. At the final round, the team representing the Lagos State University (LASU) training centre emerged winner while University of Lagos centre came second and the Lagos State polytechnic centre came third.
Vivian Afolayan of Glow Palace won the business pitch competition while Popoola of Eko Laundry and Adeniyi Mariam of the Snail Factory came second and third respectively.
Over 200 companies participated in the internship fair including l First City Monument Bank (FCMB), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Total, Lead Way Assurance, Nestle, SystemSpecs, BussinessDay and others.
Speaking about the internship fair, Adekunle Adewole, LASU Center Coordinator, said despite initial lapses, the programme ended up a success.
Mr. Adewole said the feedback he got from participants was that the programme was a success.
“The aim of RSW (Ready Set Work) is to create a platform for final year students, higher institutions in Lagos State for them to stand on. And they will be heads and shoulder above all other students in the country because of the eleven weeks training,” Mr. Adewole added.
Seun Abimbola, a volunteer facilitator, said that the job fair was “unique.”
“It is one where a student actually gets a real life experience. I think that even employers have ample time to go through a number of students, even if they are not hiring today, they have CVs they can go through in future.”
Bakare Afolabi, a student from Caleb University, mentioned that the programme is “nice and it is a good opportunity”. He however was not happy that he could not secure an interview with any of the partner companies.
Adeleke Ajibola, a student from UNILAG, said that RSW is “great”. He, however, said the internship fair was crowdy. He was of the opinion that the fair could have been held in the three designated centres of the programme rather than at the single venue where it was held.
“We that came in later were at a disadvantage, because companies that I would have liked to interview with like Nestle, they already had people that they wanted, and I had to go to companies that were not related to my field.”
Ready Set Work Participants are mainly students from public institutions of tertiary learning in Lagos State.