The Vocational and Professional Development Academy (VDPA) recently inaugurated its Vocational Training Empowerment Programme (VOTEP), a free three-day intensive training for senior secondary school students and school leavers from public schools within Yaba community.
The programme, aimed at empowering the youths with skills in leadership, time management, emotional intelligence and personal hygiene, saw about 20 students being trained in fundamentals of ICT and photography.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the programme in Lagos, the founder of the academy, Dr. Ekua Abudu Akinsanya said it was designed to give back to Yaba Community, where she grew up, adding that it would run more within the year so that more students can benefit.
While explaining how the academy was established, she said: “The seed was sown when I was the President of the International Women Society (IWS) in 2010 and I graduated about 100 students. I told myself that it was actually a very good thing to do.”
She added that during that time, she had problems with the artisans around her because they seemed not to be properly trained.
“My change-over unit caught fire, we had to change it twice and even when the electrician brought another one, it will still have problems. I also had problems with my plumber, he kept on coming to fix the same thing. I had the same issue with the tailors and others.
“I asked myself what could be wrong with artisans and skilled workers. At the same time, there were construction sites around us where foreigners were called in to work. By the time I investigated, there was somebody we had sponsored as a mechanic and after three years of working, he could only service a car and why should this be?
“The answer to these questions is that they were not properly trained. That made me realise that I needed to set up a place where they could be properly trained and we could actually change this sector that is so important to our economy. In England I know what it cost to call out a plumber, they do good work and they are proud of it. I don’t have to call them back to do the same thing and that is why we set up VDPA.
She commended Custodian Social Responsibility Foundation for supporting her vision financially with a view to develop the youths to contribute to the economy through skills acquisition, adding, “we have started with Yaba as a pilot centre and plan to establish more centres across Nigeria and West Africa.”
Akinsanya stressed the need to develop the technical and vocational education sector, adding that if people are taught skills, the country would have an employable workforce and people can set up businesses that will thrive.
In her remarks, the Director General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Ronke Soyombo commended Akinsanya for the initiative, saying that it is a right step in the right direction especially in identifying with the policy of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in skills acquisition for young and vibrant school leavers for self-sufficiency.
“In a very short period, you have proved the importance of values for our youths through invaluable contributions to the collective development of young school leavers through supportive ventures. You have quickly keyed into acquisition of professional trainings, brokering the mental box which limited the belief and growth of youths today to speedily embrace and soak into free professional calling seamlessly.”
She appealed to the beneficiaries to embrace the initiative that will empower and take them off the streets, saying, “you must stay glued to achieving your aims and objectives to attain and sustain success. You must also choose well and right, a career with professional tenets with unfettered commitment to the basics; displaying utmost dedication to the vision and goal of your callings because out there, you have to display exemplary professional attitude as a product of VOTEP.”