In furtherance of its continued commitment to community investment across the country, First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) has in collaboration with Students in Free Enterprise Nigeria (SIFE) concluded the training and empowerment of 151 youths in Kano State in the acquisition of new skills.

Speaking at the graduation/awards ceremony in Kano on Thursday (June 11, 2009) Kemi-Sokenu Morris, FCMB’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), said the 151 youths were trained in the skills areas of phone repairs, poultry management, photography, tie and dye, and leather works. Sixty trainees who excelled during the three-month training programme were provided with initial operating tools, machinery and equipments amounting to N7.9 million.

Tagged 'Skill for Life Project' the programme is essentially a skills acquisition” program designed to empower the uneducated, unskilled, unemployed and completely disadvantaged youths in and around the Kano metropolis with different vocational skills that will make them become not only productive and self employed, but also give them the chance of active participants in the economic activities of their immediate communities.

The skills acquisition programme which was facilitated by the bank’s CSR implementing partners, SIFE Nigeria was based on such criteria as basic education level required to learn the skills, marketability of the skills, demand for the skills, and profitability of the skills.

Deputy Governor of Kano State, Engr. Tijjani Muhammad Gwazo said, “This is a welcome initiative considering the great challenges and difficulties being faced by the nation’s higher education system with respect to skills-based training, and employability of graduates.”

Reiterating the state government’s commitment towards creating jobs for women and youths, he enjoined the recipients to impart their communities with the knowledge and equipments provided by FCMB.

Adasuwa Ifedi, SIFE’s Country Director, said “What strikes us the most at SIFE is that the impact goes beyond the persons empowered. The ripple effect of FCMB’s skills acquisition programme will continue to be felt in Kano State in the next 10 years.”

Ifedi who urged participants to share their knowledge with friends and family also enjoined them to always find ways to build upon the skills they have acquired.

The SIFE Nigeria Country Director praised participants for being accepted into the program, as the criteria for selection were quite rigorous, and for demonstrating their commitment to remain actively engaged in the training. She challenged the graduates to re-invest their new knowledge and skills in their communities.

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