Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has revealed that his ministry has shortlisted no fewer than 250 applicants out of the 45,000 persons that indicated interest in its advertised outh empowerment programme.
Dare, who made the disclose while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wilco, a facility management company, in Abuja, explained that the partnership is for selection, training and engagement of Nigerian youths under its Work Experience Programme (WEP).
Assuring that the ministry adopted the best criteria in the screening and selection of the 250 shortlisted applicans, he said: “It is with a sense of achievement that I speak the signing of MoU with WILCO.
“Today’s event is therefore a milestone as it coincides with our transition from the planning stage to implementation stage. My administration spent its initial months on planning and strategizing and I am pleased to announce that we are now at phase were the plans are translated into action that will benefit the Nigerian youth.
“Like other components of the DEEL initiative to which the Work Experience Programme (WEP) belongs, this MoU is the product of weeks, and even months of constant interaction between the Ministry’s team and that of WILCO.
Such painstaking efforts ensured that the fine points were carefully worked out to ensure that the Nigerian youth emerge the winner from this relationship.
“I am pleased that WILCO is partnering with the Ministry for the selection, training and engagement of the successful ones among these youth and I am elated that your organization share the same values with us such that the selection process is made as transparent as humanly possibly having fully adopted technology to deliver a scientific system of shortlisting beneficiaries.
“In the Ministry’s effort to equip the youth contemporary challenges we are doing our best to ensure that everyone has an equal shot at benefiting. It is our hope that this level of transparency that was built into the DEEL programmes will be further deepened with the launch of the Nigerian Online Youth Assembly (NOYA) platform, which is now at the final stage of testing before going live.
“Once launched, NOYA, which is an aggregator website, a one stop shop to connect our youths, will further simplify selection process for WEP related opportunities. Other organizations that will be signing on would find a process that has been refined through the activities related to the MoU we are signing today.
“We believe that facilitating transparency in this manner will further boost confidence in the process and encourage other organizations and stakeholders to make their own investment in our youth, who are the greatest resource that will grow Nigeria into an economic power of the future.
“It started with few thousands applicants, it rose to 12,000 until most recently when the number hit 42,000. However, I want to inform you that 250 applicants have been shortlisted. We adopted the best criteria in selecting the applicants basically on merit and essentially relevant qualification. Wilco requested qualification in specific skills, first degree in the areas of engineering and relevent field,” he said.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, the representative of Wilco, Tokumbo Lawal, revealed that some of the shortlisted applicants will be given to its partners through the pipeline with the Ministry.
“This is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility where we try to bridge the gap between the theories from the young graduates and the practical experience in the field. We train them to have employment skills,” she noted.