In a bid to facilitate reduction in the unemployment rate currently being seen as one of the major challenges ravaging the country, Fidelity Bank Plc, one of the nation’s highly diversified lenders, in strategic partnership with Gazelle Academy and University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), has empowered 300 Nigerian youths with top-of-the-line entrepreneurial skills.
The programme, which is in-line with the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, was targeted at creating a new breed of entrepreneurs among Nigeria’s boisterous youth population.
At the launch of the bank’s 5-day youth empowerment programme held at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, the bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo, said that the programme sought to empower the university community by way of creating thriving business owners among the students. While reiterating the bank’s commitment to continually equip Nigerian youths with the requisite skills needed to making them self-reliant, Okonkwo lamented that Nigerian youths have been denied opportunities to develop in diverse realms of human endeavours.
He stressed, “In a national survey jointly sponsored by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Education Trust Fund (ETF), about 61 percent of 20 organisations rated graduates poor in skills needed in the work environment such as literacy, entrepreneurship, analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills.”
Highlighting on the scope of the programme, Okonkwo enunciated that the students were being trained on tailoring and make-up, and that the exercise would provide students with knowledge and first-hand experience on the skills.
The CEO, who was represented by Leonard Ezugwu, Head, Anambra-Enugu-Ebonyi Regional Bank of Fidelity Bank, said, “Nigerian youths are only exposed to Theoretical Education without…practical entrepreneurship, vocational and skill acquisition trainings.”
As a leading financial institution with a proven track record of service excellence and integrity, Okonkwo continued on the lender’s commitment to create a veritable platform for the building of an entrepreneurial spirit in the nation’s teeming undergraduates.
“We want to create a positive mindset among them, shifting them ‘from paid-labour mentality to business owners and employers’.”
In a conscious attempt to ensure that the participants (undergraduate students) utilize the skills and experiences garnered at the workshop, Okonkwo pointed out that the Bank had provided the students with sewing machines, pressing irons and make-up kits.
Commending the Fidelity Bank’s empowerment programme, Her Excellency, The Wife of the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Monica Ugo Ugwuanyi applauded the Bank for investing in youth empowerment. While recounting that the youths are agents of the future, she however urged other private organizations to take a cue from Fidelity.
Among attendees at the event were, Vice-Chancellor, UNN, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) Academics, Professor James, Founder, Gazelle Academy, Muna Uzo, Chairman/Managing Director, Ben TV, Alistair Soyode besides top government functionaries, captains of industry, media practitioners and academia.