Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Anambra State commissioner for youth empowerment and creative economy Hon. Afam Mbanefo has disclosed government’s intention to create over 5000 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) jobs for youths in the state to enable them to become employers of labour and wealth creators.
The commissioner made the disclosure during an exclusive interview with our correspondent in his office at the government house Awka.
He said Governor Willie Obiano was futuristic as evidenced in his youth-friendly policies and programmes that were currently yielding dividends, adding that government has initiated a lot of profitable ventures youths could leaverage on for self-sustenance and self-reliance.
Mbanefo explained that the state government would partner an ICT firm to organize an online training programme where youths would acquire relevant ICT skills that would launch them into the online market place and get online jobs relevant to their individual skills in the areas of tourism, hospitality, transportation, utilities and many more job opportunities. He stressed that government would fund the beneficiaries at the end of the training to enable them to start off on a sound footing.
The commissioner also stated that government has ventured into what he called YouthTV – a platform he said was available for youths to go into entertainment business, talent activities, legislative activities and what have you, emphasising that government was initiating programmes to engage youths meaningfully in the state to dissuade them from amoral tendencies that could plunge them into perpetual self-destruction.
He said, “We know that the Nigerian economy is running at about one point seven per cent and the population growth is about three per cent. So what we are doing in Anambra state is having activities and programmes that will get the youths employed and avoid restiveness. We also have programmes that we have developed to engage youths.
“These programmes are youths-in-agriculture, one youth one skill, inventor-investor-initiative and technovation programmes. The governor is also looking at a creative centre that will habour ICT hubs, editing centres, cultural centres, entertainment centres and other facilities. We are also looking at developing a film village and we intend to collaborate with the ministry of tourism to achieve that goal.
“We are really going deep down into the communities to identify and harness raw talents. Our star search has started in earnest and every other month, Anambra state ministry of youth empowerment and creative economy will be running the Anambra Concert where we will enrol upcoming artistes and give them the stage to showcase their talents. We hope to sustain these activities to bring our youths to the fore.”
The commissioner said that the mission in creating Smart Jobs was to showcase to Ndi-Anambra the skills state government was building that could be employed even as he pointed out that government had engaged all the ministries, departments, agencies and contractors in the state. He noted that “as we are training them, we are sending them off for apprenticeship. So in the next couple of months, our youths will begin to have something to do. I believe that youths who are skilled and really want to make use of what they have learnt, would really get engaged.”
According to him, government will pay the beneficiaries while on training and also work out multiple strategies of apprenticeship scheme where government could get youths together to learn vocational skills and pay them as well while acquiring the skills.
He equally expressed government’s readiness to rejuvenate Anambra Youths Parliament and address issues affecting its proper functioning alongside other youth organisations attached to the state like the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Anambra State Association of Town Unions Youth Wing and a host of others, stressing that every youth organization in the state is incorporated into the programmes and activities of the state ministry of youth empowerment and creative economy.