Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River on Tuesday inaugurated a construction and fabrication academy, with 500 initial trainees.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the academy will train apprentices on skills such as information and communication technology (ICT), welding and fabrication, tiling and plumbing, among other skills.
NAN also reports that the academy is meant to make residents of the state self-employed.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, Ayade said before now it was difficult to find youths from Cross River with self-reliant skills.
He said the youth of the state could not continue to rely on their certificates, pointing out that they needed skills to be truly independent and to boost the state’s economy.
“If you go to the oil and gas industry, an experienced welder, who is called a corrosion engineer, earns about 2,000 dollars a month and yet we don’t have Cross River youths learning such skills.
“How long will Nigerians continue to get tilers and other skilled artisans from Benin Republic, Togo and other nearby African countries?
“Today (Tuesday) is a turning point for the indigenes of Cross River, so let the youth rise up, take advantage of this academy and be empowered in order to be employers of labour.
“Also, the Federal Government must encourage states to build skill acquisition centres that will help in reducing unemployment and curbing migration ” Ayade added.
In her remarks, Mrs Florence Obi, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, advised the youth to take advantage of the academy to acquire relevant skills that would enable them to be independent and be employers of labour.
Represented by Prof. Mike Okon, Obi said a lot of people without formal education were adding value to the economy and the youth of the state should rise and do same.
Mr Signor Idiege, Commissioner for Youth Development and Skill Acquisition, thanked the governor for releasing funds for the commencement of the academy.
He maintained that the establishment of the academy would reduce the threats of insecurity and free youths and their families from poverty while building their entrepreneurial capacities.
“With today’s inauguration of this academy, we are repositioning our youths to attain the skills and productive capacities that would see Cross River in no distant time emerge as an industrial hub and premier service-driven economy in Nigeria and Africa,” Idiege said.