ABIA State has kicked off the training of 3,863 youths, beneficiaries of the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) Public Work Fare (PWF), a World Bank-assisted programme, designed to provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
The State became one of the 16 participating states in the country and the only South East state to have keyed into the programme after the State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu paid the multi-million naira counterpart fund.
The beneficiaries, drawn from the three senatorial zones in the state, and stakeholders from various ministries took part in YESSO orientation programme at Amapu Ntigha Stadium in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area to mark the launch of the first phase of the training.
At the opening ceremony of the training, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs Rita Okengwu, explained that the 3,863 beneficiaries were drawn from World Bank-approved Single Social Register of the six pilot local government areas in the three senatorial districts, the Public Work Fare for Senior Secondary School leavers and Skill for Job (S4J).
According to Okengwu, the six benefiting local governments are Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South (Abia Central senatorial zone); Ohafia and Umunneochi (Abia North), and Ugwunagbo and Ukwa East (Abia South).
She said that through the programme, participants, especially the unskilled and the unemployed youths in the state would be able to develop a steady source of income.
She implored the beneficiaries to be serious with the training so as to be in a position to become be financially independent.
The Coordinator of YESSO in Abia, Mr Ndubuisi Ezengwa, said arrangements were being put in place to ensure a successful implementation of the programme.
According to him, the government would liaise with the leaderships of town unions and traditional institutions in the process, while the second phase, which would accommodate the other 11 local government areas would begin at the end of the first phase, which would last for 12 months.
Stakeholders, like the member representing Isiala Ngwa North State Constituency in the state House of Assembly, Chief Ginger Onwusibe, the traditional ruler of Amapu Ntigha Eze Nelson Asonye, his Ohambele autonomous community counterpart Eze Anthony Wabara, commended the World Bank and the state government for the laudable programme.