=By Funmi Falobi=
In contributing to efforts to reduce unemployment in Nigeria, the Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD) centre of the Foundation for Skills Development, has inducted 20 new trainees into its skill acquisition programme for 2018. The trainees, who are being sponsored by NAGODE industry, will undergo training in fashion, catering and hairdressing among others. Similarly, NAGODE will provide them with equipment and interest free loan to start their own businesses, upon completion of the training and acquisition of requisite vocational skills
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony for the new set of trainees, FSD Founder, Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde said the vision of the Centre is to give people skills so that they can work, earns a living and reduce unemployment. She said: “There are many work opportunities outside, but no skill. We try our possible best to ensure the trainees are thorough. We are extremely strict. You can’t be a business person if you are not self disciplined. It’s not about your skills alone, we teach integrity and discipline.
Commending NAGODE for solving economic problems in the lives of people, she recalled that the partnership with NAGODE has helped to birth entrepreneurs. “Our relationship with NAGODE started in 2017 and that has led to the training and graduation of 20 trainees. They learnt and started small businesses of their own. The organization empowered them with equipment and today, they will be given loan without any interest to grow their businesses. There is growth in business if you have the tenacity.” She explained, adding that the Centre also follows up on the trainees after graduation and as well monitor their growth in business.
In his remark, Group Managing Director, NAGODE, Mr. Maneesh Garg, while urging the trainees to be focused and determined, said every dream starts with a step.
” We started our company with a container but today, we have thousands. It started with a step. Everybody starts with a single first step and gradually, you make progress. Don’t lose focus. The dream is achievable, ” he said.
On the unemployment and economic downturn in Nigeria, Garg said, “At one level, you see opportunities in Nigeria, at the same time, you see people struggling to make ends meet. People are not useless but are used less” he said. “Start the journey to contribute to yourself and the society”, he added.
NAGODE, which deals in industrial chemicals like cosmetics, paints, soap, ethanol as well as logistics, and has offices in Dubai, Kenya, Ethiopia among other African countries, is supporting FSD as part of the organization’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
” We are in business to inspire Africa. We believe in supporting entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The biggest challenge to entrepreneurs is how to get capital. We help customers to succeed and FSD aligns to our core values, to give young people skills”, Garg said.
Past trainees at the event also commended the initiative and explained that skills acquired from FSD has helped them to start their own businesses and contribute financially in providing for their homes and sending their children to school.
While calling for more support, Ogunrinde implores other organizations to emulate NAGODE by supporting more trainees to be empowered. She noted the challenge facing FSD is the lack of sufficient partners. “People come to us because of our quality. Our singular challenge is partners. When we get partners, we will train more people”, she said.
“Aside NAGODE, FSD also has as its partners, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Consulate, Lagos, religious organizations and other organizations. For example, UPS will sponsor the training of about 100 people in year 2018 while the Lagos State government through its Lagos State Entrepreneurship Trust Fund, LSETF has given loan to trainees with 5% interest”, she added.