NEST To Train 10,000 Girls In ICT, Launches Innovation Park

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Emma Okonji

In order to fill the digital skills gap created by technology evolution, NEST, a technology skills training academy, has mapped out strategies to train 10,000 girls by the end of 2020 in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) that will fill the job space already created by technology of the future.

One of the strategies to achieve the feat, is the launch of its Innovation Park in Yaba, Lagos, which has a conducive co-work space, training centres with modern facilities as well as business lounge, where tech-startups could co-work to develop technology solutions, along side computer-based training.

Speaking at the launch of NEST Innovatikn Park, one of its Co-founders, Mr. Peter Ogedengbe said NEST has so far trained and graduated over 250 girls from its academy since inception, and that the launch of its Innovation Park would give them ample opportunity to train more girls in ICT in order to achieve the 10,000 target by the end of 2020.

According to him, “As technology is evolving, it is creating new job skills for the future workforce and except we begin to train Nigerians in line with technology trend, there will be vacuum in the digital job skills for the future.”

He said although the training comes almost free of charge, NEST Innovation Park is open to funding through grants in order to meet up with its financial obligations of the training. “The training is open to young girls across any discipline who have passion for ICT and for developing their entrepreneurial skills, and such female must show proof of learning before admission into the Innovation Park.

Another Co-founder, Oluwajoba Oloba, said the Innovation Hub is open to young female Nigerians that are willing to fill the digital skills gap. According to him, the rate at which technology is evolving, the current workforce would not be able to fit into the digital work space of the future, hence the need to train young female Nigerians that would take over the future digital jobs. The training skills cover Infographics, Computer Coding, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), among other computer skills that are relevant for the future digital Jobs, Oloba said, adding that NEST Innovation Park creates a conducive training ambience where learning comes with ease and fun.

He explained that NEST Innovation Hub has a set of digitised curriculum that would address the anomalies in the current Nigerian school curriculum that does not prepare students for the future digital workforce.
President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr. Yele Okeremi, commended the initiative of the Co-founders to train young Nigerians that would fill the future digital workspace that has been created by advancement in technology. He however called on government to support NEST Innovation Park and other technology hubs located in different parts of the country, in order to grow a viable technology ecosystem for Nigeria.