The Lagos State Government has commenced its first Youth Economic Empowerment Scheme (YEES), designed to make 900 youth across the state self-reliant and cultivate entrepreneurial spirit to generate employment and reduce poverty to its barest minimum.
The economic empowerment scheme designed to train youths in catering, makeover & gele tying, shoe making and tailoring skills for the period of eight months, between March and November this year will be held at youth centres in the State.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the scheme in Ikeja, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri said the prosperity of any society lied in the hands of youths, giving their vibrancy, resourcefulness and energy.
He said YEES was another stride of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to invest in community-based and life enhancement vocational programme as a tool to solving the escalating problem of youth unemployment in the State.
Dabiri stated that failure on the part of government to tap into potential of youths would result into the society being endangered by drug, alcohol and tobacco smoking, contrary to what was expected of youths as future leaders.
“The goal of this programme is to make these youths self-reliant, promote spirit of entrepreneurship, thereby through them generate employment, reduce poverty and boost economic development.
“Also this programme will help reduce crime rates and youth restiveness, so that the State would spend less on addressing social problems,” he said.
The Commissioner, who admitted that challenges were pertinent to such empowerment programmes called on members of the private sector; Non-Governmental Organizations and corporate organizations to support government to discover and help youths excel in their areas of interest.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola said YEES was aimed at encouraging youths to be more productive and improve the quality of other people’s lives in the State.
He charged the youths to embrace the opportunity offered by government to re-examined themselves with a view to imbibing the spirit of hard work, creativity and self-reliance which were essential ingredients for personal and social-economic development of any nation.
Muri-Okunola assured youths that government would continue to create conducive environments for youth leadership, participatory platforms, entrepreneurial training and empowerment programmes for them to thrive.
The representative of Ford Foundation, Mr. Dabe Saki commended Lagos State Government for organizing youth-focused programmes to enable youths learn skills they needed to transit their status to being employed.