A total of one hundred persons have graduated from the Diri Industrial Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Scheme (DIETS) and the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP).
Speaking during the graduation ceremony in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, said his administration would continue to use skills acquisition as an effective weapon to fight poverty and its attendant challenges.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Governor Diri noted that a state with a relatively high skilled population will do well in its economy.
Governor Diri explained that his administration is investing in youth training programmes because they have capacity to create employment and relieve government of the pressure of providing for so many people with scarce resources.
He however noted that the impact of skills acquisition programme can only be felt if those trained put the knowledge acquired into productive use.
Governor Diri, therefore, tasked the graduands to justify the resources spent in training them by practicing what they have learned in order to be self-reliant and train others as well.
The state helmsman urged relevant Ministries and agencies to come up with reliable data that will ensure the tracking of beneficiaries for proper evaluation of all training programmes to enable government plan effectively for similar programmes in the future.
His words: “Poverty has declared a war against us, hence the need for skill acquizition to fight it. The dividends of this training will manifest when you start earning and training others.
“We must understand that for this project to be meaningful there must be evaluation and planning. How many of us are self-reliant after training? The essence of planting is to bear fruits. So there must be visible progress made in the lives of those trained.
“The Ministry of Labour would have to explain why Bayelsa will be second or third in poverty ranking in Nigeria despite training over four thousand people so far. We will need a list of those trained and find out what they are doing to be sure we are not wasting funds.
“Our youths must be ready to take the first step. They must believe and take necessary actions with determination and to be prayerful. You must leave no stone unturned in your quest for success. Be prudent in your expenses. Success and failure are in your hands”.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Hon. Stanley Braboke, said the state government has in collaboration with the Industrial Training Funds, succeeded in training a total of two hundred Bayelsa youths in critical trades such as ICT, plumbing, tiling, catering and event management.
Hon. Braboke commended Governor Diri and his Deputy, Senator Ewhrudjakpo, for their passion in training Bayelsa youths, expressing hope that those trained would impact Bayelsa and beyond with their skills.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund, Sir Joseph Ari, lauded the state government for partnering the ITF, stressing that skill acquisition can stem the tide of unemployment and transform the economic landscape of the state.
Represented by the Area Manager of ITF, Rivers State Area Office, Mrs Ifeyinwa Osagie, expressed optimism that given the content and intensity of the training, graduands will thrive in their chosen trades.
Also speaking, the Area Manager of Industrial Training Funds, Bayelsa State, Mrs. Baiyere Titilola said he ITF was established to provide high quality and need base training for national development.
She lauded Governor Diri for partnering the ITF to leverage the human capital development in the nation and called on other state governments to emulate Bayelsa State.
Speaking on behalf of the graduands, Blessing Wokoma thanked the state government and ITF for the training and promised not to disappoint the people of the state.
High point of the occasion was the presentation of starter packs to graduands.