Known as the Start & Improve Your Business (SIYB) training programme, the initiative which is based on the curriculum of the International Labour Organization (ILO), will see thousands of youth corps members receive critical entrepreneurial training. The overall goal is to improve on and increase the capacity of the youth in building Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that can operate effectively and be sustainable long-term. It has been recognized that even at the best of times, employers of labor in the economy will not have the capacity to absorb all the entrants. This has led to a need to promote the development of small and medium scale enterprises, to create self- employment opportunities and expand the scope for job creation, as research findings indicate clearly that 60-70% of new jobs are created by the SME sector.
Speaking when he led a team on a courtesy visit to the Director General of the NYSC in Abuja on Monday, Managing Director of GE Gas Power Systems in Nigeria, Mohammed Mijindadi, explained that the initiative was one of the many ways GE is supporting skills development in Nigeria. “We are committed to the sustainable development of Africa and Nigeria in particular, and as such we invest in skills development initiatives that empower people with valuable skills, equip communities with new tools and technology and elevate ideas that are helping to solve Africa's challenges,” Mijindadi said.
Giving more insights, he explained that the program works using a Train the Trainer approach where NYSC personnel and facilitators are trained utilizing an international curriculum benchmarked to global standards. Following that, the facilitators are supported to execute training programs for all youth corps members across the country. The initiative, Mijindadi added, “is a practical business management-training programme with a focus on starting and improving small businesses.”
The SIYB program initiative is part of GE’s commitment to skills development in Nigeria in support of the Federal Government’s job creation objectives. The government plans to create 15 million jobs by 2020 as indicated in its 2017 Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) and for Nigerian youth to embrace this opportunity they need to have the right skills.
Speaking on the partnership, Roti Balogun, Chief Talent and Skills Development Leader for GE Africa and Corporate Champion for the Nigerian Economic Summit Group Human Capital Development commission added "We are pleased to lead a private sector response to some of our commitments from the recently concluded NES23 summit on skills, competencies and capacity building with a focused strategy on faculty development in Nigeria. We remain committed to entrepreneurial leadership development across the continent with programs such as the SIYB."
Responding, Brigadier-General Kazaure commended the partnership with GE stating that the SIYB program is aligned and complimentary to the NYSC’s efforts in setting up skill acquisition centers in the country’s six geo-political zones. He expressed interest in continuing to partner with GE to build capacity and encouraged other private sector players to look for similar ways to support the agency.
GE has created several skills development initiatives in Nigeria, a prime example being the Lagos Garage- a hub for advanced manufacturing-based innovation, strategy development, idea generation and collaboration. Co-located with the GE Lagos offices in Victoria Island, the Lagos Garage offers a year-round series of skills training programs focused on building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs. Till date, 140 entrepreneurs have graduated the program having been trained to use the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters as well as in business development.