Ogun State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe says lack of requisite skills that could fetch youths extra income has made it difficult for many adults to break economic barriers and be gainfully employed despite the increase in demand for vocational skills among industries in the country.
Mrs. Longe stated this while delivering the keynote address at the third Matriculation Ceremony of Wessy College of Arts and Technology, Abeokuta titled, “Breaking Economic Barriers through Vocational Training”, noting that acquiring vocational skills would help youths to be gainfully self-employed while enabling them contribute to the industrial development of the country.
Longe added that youths need to rise up to skill demands from industries in the country stressing that “currently, manufacturers need skilled labour with many even sourcing from other countries”.
“Many adults now, regret painfully, their failure to maximize their youthful age to learn various skills which they can leverage on to maximise their potentials for economic emancipation”, Longe said.
While charging the matriculants to make the best of their training so as to break any form of barrier, the Commissioner stressed that the institution’s drive was in tandem with the present administration’s desire to take thousands of youths out of poverty.
Assuring of government’s support for different categories of businesses including entrepreneurs, Longe disclosed that opportunities such as loans from the Ogun State Agricultural and Multipurpose Credit Agency (OSAMCA), the N1bn OGSG- Bank of Industry Fund, the State’s partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), among others were available for entrepreneurs.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical Education, Professor Joseph Odemuyiwa lauded the chairman and management of the College for being passionate rather than money-driven, noting that acquiring vocational and technical education will help actualise employability, sustainability and reliability.
In his address, Chairman, Wessy Group of Companies, Otunba Wasiu Taiwo said the various challenges the company faced while trying to produce garments for the international market spurred him to start the college as a way of giving back to society and training youths to become self-employed.
In her welcome address, Provost, Wessy College of Arts and Technology, Dr. Mrs. Temitope Alade, said 95 percent of the matriculating students were on scholarship, urging the matriculating students to utilise the skills gained through the training to become entrepreneurs and improve their lives.
Two of the matriculating students, Olamide Amos and Ajayi Boluwatife said they were inspired and dedicated to focus on their studies so as to adequately fulfill their potentials as trainees who have entrepreneurship drive.