BY ‘SANMI FALOBI <
Being an entrepreneur is not just about learning a vocational skill, but the application of knowledge gained to meet the needs of others. This was the charge to set of 20 potential entrepreneurs who recently completed a six-week vocational skills acquisition training from the Field of Skills and Dreams vocational training centre of the Foundation for Skills Development (FSD), Ikeja, Lagos. The training, which covered hair dressing, fashion designing, catering/cake baking and electrical installations, was sponsored by Nagode Industry limited.
Giving a goodwill remark at the graduation ceremony for the new would-be entrepreneurs, Mr. Sandeep Kapoor, Nagode’s Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), charged the emerging entrepreneurs to approach life with a positive mindset, premised on an attitude of gratitude and service to others.
“Each and every one of you should have a heart of gratitude and see how to add value to life’, he said. “There are two attitudes to life. One attitude is to think that life and the society has been unfair such that you think you are doing so much, yet not getting anything back as you desire to have; while the other attitude is to see life in a positive light, appreciating what you have and be willing even to give back to make the lives of others better,” he said.
“The outcome from the two attitudes is that one will give you frustration and negative emotions while the other attitude is about being fulfilled and to lift up other people and give motivation for living,” he expounded.
He therefore charged the graduating trainees to see life in positive light, building positive relations in advancing in life. “The relationship that you have built through this training should be sustained. We would want to see this relationship continue and see what progress you are making and what help we can render beyond our sponsorship”, he added.
Also speaking, Mrs. Toyin Ogunmade, Group Human Resource Manager, Nagode, advised the grandaunts not to succumb to pessimism but to be optimistic in making a success of their entrepreneurial pursuit.
“Don’t despise what you have learnt. You might have all the knowledge but if you have a bad attitude, nobody will relate with you, so you should have the right attitude. Believe in yourself and have the right attitude. Your attitude will help you to become that person that you want to be, so ensure that your attitude speaks for you and be diligent in the course your have set for yourself,” she said.
FSD’s Executive Director, Mrs. Omowale Ogunride also didn’t mince words in charging the prospective entrepreneurs on the importance of having the right attitude. “You have absolutely no reason to be idle. It is not only about the skills you have gained, but also the discipline to do right things to be able to make progress. People will not help you if you don’t have the rights attitude”, she said.
Buttressing her points, she added: “It is not just about having the acquisition of a new knowledge or skill, but applying the skills. So don’t just say you have acquired some skills but put those skills into use by starting something to earn some income”.
Speaking with sdnonline, some of the trainees shared their skills learning experience and gave hints on their next step actions.
“It was a little challenging for me attending the training because I had a baby and I had thought I would not be accepted as I had been rejected at other places because I had a baby”, Mrs. Ruth Ajayi who was trained in Hair dressing stated. “But at FSD, they listened to me and gave me a chance, accepting that I could be coming with the baby because I didn’t want to put my baby in day care, and so I was coming with my baby every day. It was bit challenging coming and getting here by 8am every day, day but I had to cope since they gave me the chance to attend.” She added.
With pride in her eyes, she applauded FSD and Nagode for giving her an opportunity to improve her life through the skills gained, and thankful for the take-home equipment and starter kits she is going home with. “I am so happy they gave me a standing hair dryer and hand dryer as take home kit. They also gave me something to use to treat the hair in additional to some other things in the starter pack tool kits. For now, I don’t have a shop yet, so I will be doing home service and these kits would be useful to me. If a customer is living around my home, I will use the standing dryer, but if the customer is far away, I will go with the hand dryer and other tools that I have”, she said.
On how she will forge ahead, she states thus: “Though there are so many hairdressers out there and hairdressing may be common, but it depends on the way you do your own; for me, with what I have learned here, I know I am more advanced than others out there and so I am not afraid of competition because I know I have learned more here. I came here empty, but now going with knowledge, so I am not afraid”.
For Nathaniel Johnson who also was trained in hair dressing, all is set for him to start earning money out there. “I have passion for hairdressing and now I have learnt what I need to know. I can fix, I can braid, I can do washing and setting and all other things.
My next plan is to get a shop and start working. I like to own a shop in Ikeja or Lekki where I can get many customers”, he said.
On what his unique selling point is, he said: “I will package myself to be different. We have learnt many things to make us different from others and that is what I shall be applying. I have been taught about salon hygiene and how to treat and manage customers, how you talk to them, how you address them and things like that. These are what I shall be applying to make a difference. ”
Benjamin Jimoh, who learnt fashion designing, said nothing is more gratifying as the new opportunities of having a skill that will take him off the streets.
“I used to be a street hawker, moving around Lagos to sell things in traffic; selling toothpaste, tooth brush, sanitary pads and others. I move around Lagos selling these things wherever I find traffic, until I was told to come and attend the training”, he stated.
“My experience in FSD has been impactful as I have learnt many things. I cannot go back again to the streets to hawk. I was one of the best in the training and with that, I cannot go back to street hawking. My plan is to start from home as I don’t believe I need to have a shop before I can start. I am starting from home before I now establish myself to own a shop. My target is to have customers from Egbeda area in Lagos and as time goes on, I will spread to other parts of Lagos. My specialization is sewing for females, like the gown, skirt and all ladies wears. I will be sewing only for women” he added.
For Mrs. Odutola who learnt cake making and decoration, an immediate benefit of the training to her is that it has afforded her the ability to make pastries as contribution to family subsistence and family living.
“In these six weeks, I have been able to learn how to make different types of cake and how to combine colours. I have learnt how to make fondants, butter icing, royal icing and making various cakes such as Madera cake, sponge cake, coconut cake and chocolate cake. I can also make pastries such as meat pies, egg roll, etc. Now I make cake for my immediate family at home”.
On her next plan of action, she hopes to continue with her home-made cakes and sell to neighbours. A bigger dream is to be able to also help others gain vocational skills. “By the grace of God, I am hoping that in the next few years, I would be able to pick up some other people the way I have been picked and empower them also to be able to have some vocational skills”, she declared, with an air of high hopes.