Sterling Bank extends ‘Get Ready for Work’ scheme to SMEs, others
The third edition of the yearly programme will begin this week, with more participants drawn from serving and recently discharged Youth Corps members, to add to the pool of 5000 beneficiaries of the scheme sponsored by the bank.
The bank’s Executive Director, Finance and Strategy, Abubakar Suleiman, who noted that the effort was part of strategy to raise more self-employed and employable Nigerians, added that it will also help them pursue their career choices and acquire the required skills.
He noted that beside the lack of job opportunities, the job seekers are ill-equipped to handle simple tasks when they eventually secure employment.
According to him, “we bring in foreigners for everything, even janitorial work, house-help and drivers. At the most complex level we bring in people and at the most basic level we still bring in people. This is where the conflict is. It is not much about job opportunities, but that people are not equipped for the ones that even exist. And that is a very sad situation.”
Suleiman pointed out that from the lender’s experience in hiring people, it realised that people go through the whole process of education and come out not fit for the purpose, hence a common practice of re-educating the person afresh and “this is our small intervention.”
“We want people to have the opportunity to recognise the difference between academic field of study and the practical skills they need to succeed. We hope it is going to get bigger and national, but we are definitely committed to it for a long time,” he said.
The bank’s Group Head, Strategy and Communications, Shina Atilola, said the overall best last year, received N2 million grant to expand shoemaking and clothing business, which is up and running till now.
The second person, engaged in restaurant business, received N1.5 million, while the third person, engaged in recycling of plastics, got N750,000.
The Executive Director, Field of Skills and Dreams VTE Academy (FSD), Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde, while commending the bank for investing in the future of youths through the initiative, said it was in consideration of this that her organization agreed to take part in the programme without charging professional fees.
“It is one thing to become a graduate and another to know about workplace ethics, to be socially integrated and enterprising, which are lacking in most degrees and certificates,” she said.
Some participants, according to her, have become self-employed, with businesses that are recognisable now, while others were fully equipped for real workplace activities with value addition.
She noted that before now, corps members who participated in the programme pay for themselves, but in the last 10 months we have partnered with the financial institution, 165 persons have been empowered.