THE National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has paid monthly stipends to 340 youths and unemployed persons in Abia State under the Basic National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (B-NOAS).
The Agency also paid two months stipend and sustainability support during the lockdown, to interns of the Skills for Jobs (S4J) component of the Federal Government/World Bank sponsored Youths Employment and Social Support Operations (YESSO).
The State Coordinator of NDE in Abia, Lady Chijioke Uzoatuegwu said that the payments were made possible this lockdown period by the Director-General of NDE, Dr Mohammed Ladan Argungu.
According to her, the beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s free skills training programme were paid their N2,000 monthly stipend while the YESSO interns were paid N7,500 monthly.
B-NOAS is one of the flagship employment generation programmes of the NDE where youths and unemployed persons are recruited and trained in their chosen demand driven skills, usually at the private workshops of master tradesmen or at established NDE skill centres.
The current programme, which runs for three months is conducted in the 17 local government areas of Abia in various skills like catering, hair dressing, fashion design, phone repairs, among several others.
The NDE State Coordinator hailed the passion of the NDE Director-General, Dr Mohammed Ladan Argungu for helping youths and unemployed, and the tenacity of the NDE/YESSO S4J Focal Person, Mrs Roseline Olaomi, in ensuring that the funds were released during the lockdown.
YESSO runs two components, the Public Work Fare (PWF) and the S4J, which is operated by the NDE and focusses on piloting a new approach to demand driven skills training to increase the effectiveness of government’s effort to combat unemployment among youths.
To key into this Federal Government and World Bank sponsored programme, the state government paid a designated counterpart fund.
The Abia State government is the only state in the South East amongst the 17 states in the country participating in the programme.
About 1,200 beneficiaries drawn from six pilot local government areas of Abia have undergone a three-month residential skills training at the Gregory University, Uturu, Okigwe.
The trainees, presently undergoing a six month internship training with established private sector organisations are paid N7,500 monthly for the nine month duration of the programme. The beneficiaries will be given trade starter packs at the end of the programme.