Minister Wants More Youth Trained In Digital skills

By Lekan Sowande.

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Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has reiterated the need to have more youth trained in digital skills in order to address the problem of employment.

The Minister made this assertion at the 2021 Annual Luncheon of Government College, Ibadan, Old Boys Association (GCIOBA) held in Ibadan on Sunday.

The Minister who spoke on Digital Literacy, a Panacea for Youth Unemployment, emphasized  the need for improved  digital education especially among the youths.

“There have been focused efforts to close the digital skills gap through a number of digital capacity building initiatives,” Dare said. “Some are ongoing as we speak . Also, ongoing is the implementation of the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund.”

“Mr President listened to our arguments about the need to make our Youth develop their Enterprenuership spirit. Despite the competing needs for resources, the President approved the establishment of the first Youth Investment Fund ever put in place in Nigeria: N75 Billion released over three years.”

“N25B per annum for three years at 5%, moratorium, capacity building, no guarantor. The first tranche has been disbursed to applicants across the country and the second tranche is about to commence. This is what is called putting our money where our Youths are.”

“It is worthy to note that the importance of Digital Literacy to employability is that it a necessity to succeed in  modern economy. Having the basic digital literacy skills can enhance the employability of individuals. Most jobs require digital literacy”, Dare added.

“In Nigeria, with the high level of youth unemployment, a youth skilled in basic and intermediate digital skills is more likely to access jobs locally and globally. Opportunities such as outsourcing, digital marketing, software development, artificial Intelligence, data analysis, Industrial training (IT) administration and many others are job-creating opportunities”.

Speaking On the  DEEL initiative, dare affirmed: “The DEEL initiative is designed to unleash the potential of youth and to leverage on the youth bulge as a demographic dividend by providing opportunities for investment in youth innovation and energies through a coordinated mechanism that will deliver cross cutting benefit.”

He highlighted  the objectives of DEEL to  include “Deliver basic, mid-level and advanced digital skills training for 1 million youth annually;  facilitate at least 50,000, start-ups in the ICT sector annually; upskill youth with digital skills for leverage through digital solutions in key sectors such as agriculture, power, health, manufacturing, renewable energy and services.”

“In addition, DEEL will enhance employability of at least 50,000 youth annually from 2021-2023 through paid internships. The Ministry’s DEEL programme got Nigerian youth engaged through Digital Skills, which included Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced training for 500,000 young people.”

“It is also targeting mobile device training for 100,000 youth, aside from the Work Experience Programme (WEP) – internship opportunities for three months for 5,000 youth.”

“Digital Youth Nigeria (DYNG) exposes participants to standard training sessions on global digital roles like Business Process Outsourcing skills, Software and Coding skills, Animation, Graphics skills, Internet of Things (IoT), IT hardware skills.”

“The essence is to grow our abilities in digital services, in view of the increasing realities of remote living, augmented reality and hypertext documents.”

“It is important to note that increased investment in youth by the Government, the private sector and development partners is the major path to ensure that Nigeria is able to harness the advantage of technology to reposition the economy.”

“The opportunities abound, but we must keep the focus, just like the Government College, Ibadan, Old Boys Association (GCIOBA), is doing. We will not rest on our oars in providing quality leadership for not only the youth of our dear nation, but for the entire citizenry in line with the vision of President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration,” Dare concluded.

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