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The Rivers State Government has begun the training of 25,000 job seekers on skills improvement to prepare them for employment opportunities, and link them up with potential employers.
Two months ago, the State Government trained 900 unemployed persons, who registered with the state’s web portal, a page where job seekers register to be eligible for the training and position them for employment opportunities when they come.
However, the government was spurred to expand the figure to 25,000 when it realised the sudden rise of applicants on the website.
On the appointed date for the week-long training, the venue, Obi Wali Cultural Centre, was filled to capacity with serious gridlocks around the area.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Employment Generation and Empowerment, Lawson Ikuru, said: “The increase in training of 25,000 persons was inspired by the number of job seekers we found on our database (on RivJobs www.rivjobs.ng).
We noticed that the number of job seekers is on the range of 107, 000. So the question is, each time you go out and are told your people are not employable, not because they don’t know what they studied in the university, what they want is to ensure that the people are employable and that’s what we are working on.
“We were inspired by that number (107,000) and we decided to target 25,000 persons for this Bootcamp, and we still look forward to targeting more in subsequent bootcamps, at least to prepare them for employability whenever opportunity presents itself.”
Ikuru disclosed that out of the 25,000 persons trained, the state government would employ 10,000 teachers.
However, The Guardian gathered that there has been increased anxiety among the job seekers, and serious traffic on the web portal since the announcement that teachers must register through the RivJobs platform to qualify for employment.
To douse the anxiety, Ikuru explained: “The process of recruitment comes from the Civil Service Commission. For those of them (trained ones) that are going to be teachers, the Post-Primary School Board and the UBE in collaboration with the Civil Service Commission are working on it. So, the process is on. We are waiting for their criteria and what number of teachers they want.”
He advised the job seekers to utilise the platform instead of wishfully thinking they are employable when they have no employability skills.
Also, a facilitator and Management Consultant, Victor Briggs, said the overwhelming crowd of job seekers shows that there is serious problem in the country.
He said: “There is a link between unemployment and the rate of crime and social vices. So every hand has to be on deck to solve the problem of unemployment in this country. This project is aimed at bridging the gap of employability so that our graduates would become more employable.”
On her part, a Human Resource Consultant, Tanny Ifediora said the crowd shows the desire of people to know and be engaged.
She said feedbacks received from the earlier trainees shows that the people were desirous of improving themselves with the aim of getting better jobs.