By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
the The United States government is committed to supporting economic and human development initiatives that help create employment opportunities and facilitate sustainable and improved economic growth and development.
The United States African Development Foundation (USADF), as part of its Employability Support Project, in partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), in 2019 supported an alumnus of the US Consulate Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, Funke Medun, to train 70 young Nigerians in a digital skills and employability programme.
The employability training program aims to create more jobs for the state’s youth, reduce unemployment and improve economic growth, and will also equip participants with digital and management skills that will enable them to contribute to the growth of various organizations.
After an intensive six-week training, more than 70 young people attended the first cohort graduation ceremony, held at American Space in Ikeja, Lagos. American Space is open to young Nigerians looking to develop ideas as well as leadership and entrepreneurial skills through programs and workshops designed especially for them.
Speaking at the event, US Consulate Public Affairs Officer Stephen Ibelli highlighted the importance of small businesses in driving economic growth and boosting shared prosperity.
“For Nigeria to succeed, the men and women who start businesses or hope to develop new businesses and employment opportunities must succeed. Ideas for new products or improved services will produce the growth, jobs and incomes that will lead to a more prosperous and stable Nigeria,” said Ibelli.
Ibelli explained that the US Mission to Nigeria annually supports a variety of exchange programs focused on promoting entrepreneurship and technological innovation.
These include the International Visitor Leadership Program, African Women Entrepreneurship Program, Global Innovation through Science and Technology Program, Women Entrepreneur Academy, TechWomen and the Initiative Young African Leaders (YALI).
“Through these programs, the United States government will continue to help create a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for Nigeria,” Ibelli added.
Leapworld Limited CEO Funke Medun said skills development was relevant to addressing unemployment challenges in the country. She added that young people are the strength of any nation.
“But one of the challenges is that employers cannot find job-ready young people with the skills needed for employment before they can get paid employment. There is a huge gap between employers and employees; there are jobs if you have the right skills you will get hired,” she said.
Medun added that young people need to find relevant skills, stressing, “What we have are mismatched skills. Until we equip them with in-demand skills, and then until young people are equipped with those relevant skills, unemployment would continue to be a challenge. »
She called on the government to support organizations in operation to help equip young people with relevant skills.
“These acquired skills after completing six weeks of training in digital marketing, office administration and sales. This would have an additional impact on them as they have the opportunity to do a three-month internship to master the skills and employment in the future.
Medun acknowledged the commitment of the first batch of participants to the successful completion of the six-week capacity building program and noted that the second batch of training will begin in the coming weeks.
“We hope they will be able to leverage the skills they have gained through their participation in this program to help grow small businesses in their local communities,” Medun said.
The American Foundation for African Development is an independent US government agency created by Congress to invest directly in local businesses and African social entrepreneurs. USADF creates pathways to prosperity for marginalized populations and undeserved communities across the continent.