The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and a Nigerian social enterprise, Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD), have graduated their first set of technicians in a projected four-year plan to train 50,000 Nigerian youths in technical skills in the construction and agricultural industries.
Tobias Wolfgarten, the project director, said on Tuesday that the entire project would cost about 20 million euros.
“Field of Skills and Dreams is our first training institute partner in this project and today we are graduating a total of 300 graduands.”
Mr. Wolfgarten said GIZ would be partnering with other training institutes across the country to train more youth in technical skills in the construction and agricultural industry.
“We are currently training some people in Ogun State as I speak and we intend going to Edo and Kaduna where the agricultural aspect of the project will feature prominently,” he said.
“We are currently developing more partners for the project and some of these partners would be running some courses that would run for a year for people who can spare the time and it would be more intense than the shorter courses.
“Part of the training institutes we plan on partnering with is the Dangote academy among other training institutes across the country.”
“We plan to use this program to empower and develop Nigerian youths in practical technical skills that will enable them to contribute better to the economy.”
Giving their testimonies, some of the participants narrated how the training had shaped their lives.
One of them, known as Alfa, said he was a commercial tricycle driver before he was introduced to the training.
“When I came for this training, I was empty in every way,” he said.
“In fact, I borrowed the pen to write down my name but today I am leaving here filled with substance.
“When I rented my apartment at Alagbado some five years ago and my wife bought a cooker, the electrician simply tapped wire from a joint box and there was always constant electrical fire outbreak in our building, not until I came for the electrical course did I realize that the connection was totally wrong and dangerous and it is only the grace of God that my family have not died from the outbreaks.”
Another participant said since he started the three-months’ free course, he had not only been able to properly rewire his apartment but had since gotten a contract to wire an entire building. He said he is now hoping his work would be good enough to get him the contract for the maintenance of the building.
One of the participants, who said he is a spare parts dealer, said he used to give out the contract for the installation of the parts and that the training had helped him expand his business to include installation which he how does himself.
Omowale Ogunrinde, the executive director of FSD training institute, said the institute, which started as a social initiative in 2003 before it became officially registered in 2005, has trained over 10,000 Nigerians in technical skills in different cities across the country.
“Just last week we were in Ibadan to facilitate a programme on behalf of the UN and we do it for every sponsor,” Ms Ogunrinde said.
“It depends on where the next sponsor wants us to train people and we move facilitators to do that.
“We have alumni of this institute doing great in companies like Boulos, Mantrac, Dangote, Coca-cola, and many other companies and we have a lot of them doing very well in their own practice as well.
“We don’t just train people in technical skills, we train them in soft skills that they need generally to survive. In addition to what they were trained on, a lot of them underwent the Google Digital Skills Training and got certified.”