By Oluwakemi Ishola
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is set to scale up its digital skills training to cover 500,000 youth across the country after securing funding under the COVID-19 stimulus budget.
The training, under the initiative called A New DEEL for the Nigerian Youth, was conceived last year and was meant to being in December 2019 but was placed on hold due to lack of funding to fully implement its components. DEEL is Digital Skills Acquisition, Entrepreneurship, Employability and Leadership.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare revealed that “through the stimulus plan budget under President Muhammadu Buhari we can now implement 65-75 per cent of DEEL concentrating on digital skills acquisition to bridge the existing gap we have in the area of technology. We had great ideas on my resumption of office but due to COVID-19 and funding challenges our vehicles for achieving the initiatives were slowed down but not stopped.”
He also stated that the Ministry was able to train over 30,000 youth during the lockdown leveraging partnerships with IBM and other tech organisations in various states. The free IBM and Microsoft training in partnership with the Ministry are ongoing and accessible through the ministry’s sites while a partnership with Google will soon be activated to train youth.
States in the six geopolitical zones have been selected for the first phase of Coding for Nigerian youth where each youth undergoes three months training in coding and is given a laptop to commence work upon completion of the training.
The ministry will train youth in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Mobile Device Repairs Training, Coding, Data Collection and other technologically oriented aspects.
Meanwhile, the Ministry’s 60 Day App Challenge will this Sunday (National Youth Day) see a number of Youth receive N1million each, laptops and training in Business Development to ensure they are well equipped to start off on their own.
Mr. Dare, who reiterated government’s commitment to empower Nigerian youth to make them competitive globally, expressed optimism that the approved fund for the digital skills training would provide Nigerian youth with the needed skills set and enabling environment to thrive in the post-COVID-19 era.