By Funmi Ogundare
The Ready Set Work (RSW) programme of the Lagos State Government for final year students of its institutions, which commenced 13 weeks ago has ended with the selection of the best 25 entrepreneurial teams pitching their business ideas before a panel of judges comprising the Commissioners for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo; Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; the Special Adviser on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, among others.
The initiative is an entrepreneurship and employability training, designed to prepare them for economic productivity as value-creating employees or employers of labour.
Students in the employability module of the programme were also interviewed by Human Resources (HR) representatives of partner organisations such as PwC, SystemSpecs, GTBank, Access Bank, FCMB, Total and Jobberman for a six-month paid internship slot in their respective organisations.
In his remarks, Bank-Olemoh expressed excitement about the programme, saying, “we have 100 people that we are going to place on internship aside the apprenticeship so it is very exciting to see organisations come to our school and interview our students for internships.”
He also expressed delight about the response received from the organisations about the students, saying that the feedback will allow the state to know what to improve on next year.
“We are going to have more tracks, to be specific, agriculture, tourism, entertainment, teacher training in addition to what we are doing now. For us it has been exciting to see corporate Nigerians speak positively about our students, we are very happy.”
Asked what the state hopes to achieve from the programme, Bank-Olemoh said he is optimistic about its graduates who can create jobs, adding that government cannot create all the jobs, but through empowering the students.
He advised the youths to grab every opportunity that comes to them saying, “this is an opportunity that the state government has given for those that have internship placements and apprenticeship and those that couldn’t get it, the knowledge we have imparted in them in the last 13 weeks will also work for them. We are excited and committed to ensure that it happens.”
The Deputy General Manager, Total E and P Nigeria Limited, Dr. Nkoyo Attah, said her organisation is interested in the development of the youths in the country, despite the declining standard of education and the fact that government alone cannot do everything.
“As part of our CSR, we would also like to contribute our little quota, the managing director has committed himself to supporting the state government because most of the development can be done in partnership. One person cannot take full responsibility of the development of a nation.”
On the output of the students from interactions with them, she said, “though a lot of work have been done on the students before they came here, there are still areas for improvement, those are the areas we will highlight and encourage the students after the interview with them so that there will be an all-round improvement.
The Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Prof. Olarenwaju Fagbohun, described the programme as that which has changed to a great length the orientation of its students, saying that it has given them the understanding of the reality outside and has made them to understand the fact that they are protected in the university environment.
He said the programme has succeeded in inculcating and deepening the element of discipline in the students, adding that they are no longer focused on who to employ them but an enabler of work.
The top three business ideas as well as those who have been selected to internship positions by the partner organisations will be announced at the graduation ceremony on September 15 at Landmark Centre, Victoria Island.