Foundation for Skills and Development was born out of a burden to add value to the lives of young Nigerians and to reduce the number of youths that walked the streets aimlessly daily. It is obvious that the Nigerian economy cannot readily accommodate its growing number of school leavers, therefore the number of unemployed people continues to increase daily; meanwhile, the needs in the industry continue to increase because there are no skilled workmen to work.
The success rate is over 90%, in that many trainees come back with testimonies of a transformed life. Some testimonies are documented and reading them is quite emotional. In some of the training, for example, the December 2005 session, materials were insufficient and there was inadequate space to train the number of people that besieged the center.
Thus, though painful, many were turned back, asking them to register for another session in 2006.
In May 2006, there was a Business Development Seminar, to help young people start growing their own businesses. This program was tagged, ‘Becoming your own Boss’. Three prominent business entrepreneurs trained the attendees on Setting up a small business, Marketing & Business Finance. In June 2006, we started training people with physical disabilities – Down’s Syndrome. This has been a beautiful success story. In October 2006, we had a Training tagged ” Free Yourself” to coincide with Nigeria’s 46th Independence anniversary. We trained 73 people in 6 skill areas.
Hence both the employed and the unemployed had social and economic challenges; as the unemployed put a strain on members of each family that are gainfully employed, which makes even the rich poorer in a sense.
In May 2003, as a first step and trial run, we inaugurated a vocational training program whereby selected youths were brought together to teach them skills they could use to earn a living. In that first session, about 50 youths were trained in three skill areas – millinery, heading, and clay craft. Some of these youths started lucrative businesses after that one-day training.
By the next program in August 2003, the program had five skill sessions – millinery, beadwork, barbing, soap making, and cake baking, along with business management skills, to over 100 youths. Many of them started small businesses which paid their way into higher institutions and put food on their tables.
Since then, the program has grown into a very large one, and with an increase in the number of those wanting to participate; we looked for a permanent venue for training sessions to be ongoing, year-round. This led to the lease of an 8 room accommodation in August 2005, where training started daily in 10 different vocational areas.
To date, the institute has trained more than 3000 people, who now include Christians, Muslims, free thinkers, housewives, early retirees, married, single, widowed, mainly unemployed, etc.
The vision of the institute is to train about 5000 people yearly, and this will transform into at least 20,000 people OFF the streets. This is because each person trained, subsequently becomes a well valued / high skilled employee or employer of other people. This multiplier effect has been observed in those that we have trained. We have records of all our programs. We have a centre that you can visit at any time.