Skills Acqusition: NSE Spouses Forum Empowers Youths, Members

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By Funmi Ogundare

Worried about the problems of unemployment in the country, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Spouses Forum, Lagos Zone recently held a skills acquisition programme, designed to empower members and youths to become self-reliant.

The three-day programme saw participants being taught how to make pomade like Vaseline, hand sanitiser, disinfectant, soap, starch, bleach, among others.

The President of the forum, Mrs. Aisha Babagana said the move was to align with the NSE’s plans, adding that the initiative was to ensure that the youths were fully engaged and productive, especially during this COVID-19 period.

“Anytime we are having our annual general meeting, we used to align with what the NSE is going to do. So when they asked me what we are going to do to help our spouces, I told them that I want to empower our members and train them.

This is an opportunity for them to learn something. It is free.”

On her view about the high rate of unemployment in the country, especially this period, she said, “during the lockdown, people suffered a lot, there were loss of jobs and getting something to eat was difficult. Even some of my children’s teachers were not paid where they teach. This was also part of what moved me to organise the training.”

She expressed hope that at the end of the three-day training, participants will go home happy and put what they learnt into practice so that they can be self-reliant. “We are even pleading with the NSE president to create a platform where they can produce what they have learnt enmass and exhibit it,” she said.

Some of the participants expressed delight about what they had learnt, saying that they are ready to hit the ground running by starting a business of their own.

A 200 level MBBS student of Unversity of Ilorin, Miss Kafayat Sotoyinbo said rather than sit at home waiting for ASUU to call off its strike, she would practice what she has learnt and even commercialise it.

“Knowledge is power, no matter what you are taught in class, you need to sit down and learn and since it’s practical, I will get my material and improve on my skills and market my business.”

Another particiant, Mrs. Ayodolapo Bello said the training was impactful, as she learnt how to make hand sanitiser and vaseline.

“What we had been taught is what we can easily do at home. It will be more economical. You can be fully engaged by teaching others what you have learnt and even sell the products.”

The Chairperson, Lagos Branch Spouses Forum, Mrs. Titilayo Ogunnoiki said the training was timely and effective as the new normal has taught people not to rely so much on salaries.

“People need something to augment their salaries and the programme is good as you will have money at all time and you will never run dry. You will always have capacity to sell, you can learn to make soap. I am eager to put it into use,” she said.

An industrial chemist and faciltator of the programme, Mr. Femi Akanbi said since the government cannot provide job opportunity for everybody, people could key into the tranning, adding, “we discover that most countries that are industrialised are not cottage industry. Government cannot provide work for everybody. Unemployment problem can easily be taken care of with this type of opportunity.

“I discover that one person can start this business and ask two or three others to join him and that is the way to go. It is very viable for people to key in because products like soap and hand sanitiser are consumables. For instance, the consumption of soap is proportional to the level of development.

USA today has the highest consumption of soap. Such effort will help unemployment in a way. The cottage industry will increase our IGR, open up the economy.”