From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Catholic-owned school, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu State is partnering with several Private organisations from Europe to establish a Centre for Practical Skills to train Nigerian youths on various forms of skills and provide them with European certification to make them globally employable .
The university will be providing the firms with an enabling environment by building a Business Park which will deliver eco-friendly infrastructure such as electricity, fresh water, sanitation, security and internet to promote ease of doing business.
The project will be carried out under the supervision of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), which is headed by Dr. Michael Spindelegger (former Foreign, Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor of Austria)
Addressing journalists at a press briefing in Abuja, Rev. Prof. Christian Anieke, Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, said the initiative is targeted at bringing in European investors to establish businesses where Nigerian youths can be trained and offered employment opportunities at the same time.
He said most European and other foreign countries in Nigeria fly in experts from abroad to do their repairs when there is a teeming population of youths in the country that can be trained to provide such services.
He disclosed that people who acquire the skills would be given certificates to qualify them to work in any part of the world. Adding however, that trainees will be offered salaries and working conditions comparable to their counterparts in Europe as an attraction to working in Nigeria.
According to the Vice Chancellor, the institution is also partnering with Micro Finance banks to provide loans for those who may want to establish their own businesses after the training.
Anieke said that over ten leading companies in Europe have already been signed in for the scheme while efforts are being made to bring more on board.
He said “These practicals we are talking about are targeted at what companies in our business pact and other companies in Nigeria need. Why do we need to fly somebody into this country to do minor repairs? With proper training, Nigerians can handle minor repairs and all that. That is actually the target.
“The training will focus in different areas. If the company needs electricians we will train people in electrical engineering, if they need plumbers, we train people in plumbing. If they need people in ICT we will train them and the European experts will be fully involved in that. The aim is to give them European certification so that they can be employable in and outside Nigeria.
“The Business Park will provide them with social amenities such as water, electricity and internet for the ease of doing business”
“There are a lot of foreign companies in Nigeria and they always bring in their people for expertise and we are saying, can’t we train Nigerians to do some of these things people are coming from Europe to do for companies in Nigeria and for companies in Europe too. Remember that Europe is looking for skilled workers and if we have skilled workers, many of them will be able to get jobs in Europe. They must not work for the companies. Those who wish to establish their own business can obtain loans from the Microfinance banks we are partnering to establish their own businesses. We will however, make staying back attractive by offering them good working conditions comparable to their counterparts in Europe and other countries in terms of salary structure, allowances, insurance etc.
Also speaking, Armstrong Udachaba, a visiting Professor from the school said that a massive amount of land has been set aside for building the Business Park. He said the investors will be coming in with a lot of technology to develop industry capacity.
According to Udachaba, the issue of skilled migration in Nigeria has become quite embarrassing and all efforts must be put in place to curtail it.
“There is going to be what has been tagged as a ground breaking event in Nov in Enugu and by them you will be able to see for yourself.”
Joseph Okafor, ICMPD Program Assistant hailed the initiative saying, “This is really one of its kind. There has never been this kind of initiative before where European countries take interest in a university. It is going to bring a lot of job opportunities for our youth. We are fully part of the process and we are also calling the government to provide their own support in driving it.”
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