The ongoing Presidential Amnesty Programme’s (PAP) Vocational Skills Empowerment and Training will boost the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Niger Delta region.
Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd), the Coordinator and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Boroh said that the vocational training was also part of an integrated effort toward sustained peace and stability in the region.
He noted that the building of capacity for ‘Small and Medium Enterprises’ operators, particularly in fashion and design sectors through vocational training was a deliberate strategy of the Amnesty office.
The coordinator said that the strategy was geared toward job creation in line with the ongoing reintegration of beneficiaries of the programme.
He said that the Amnesty office had graduated 22 beneficiaries from the Balamere Fashion Academy in Lagos State.
Boroh said the objective of the Fashion vocational skill was to provide the beneficiaries with tools to explore the opportunities in the real MSMEs sector.
According to him, textile and clothing industry, which is rated as the second largest sector in the developing world after agriculture, has the potential to create thousands of jobs for youths and women across the region.
He noted that the socio-economic development of the region through youth empowerment initiatives was central to the stability and peace building agenda of the Federal Government in the region.
Boroh said that society recognises the role of clothing as a communicator during social interaction and as an aid in the establishment of self-identity.
“Youths and women builds self-identity, self-esteem and use of clothing to affect its enhancement become important aspects of his or her development.
“Appearance makes a difference. Since most people have a limited clothing budget, it’s important to make wise choices.
“In fashion projects, youths complete a closet inventory and determine if key garments are needed to complete the wardrobe.
“Colour, Personal style, body type and budget all enter into clothing coordination and purchasing decisions.
“Our beneficiaries learn to make garments and useful items and learn to sew combine design and construction skills,” he said.
The presidential aide urged beneficiaries to turn their drive and passion into profitable and rewarding career in the fashion industry to contribute to the regional and national economy.
According to him, the choice of fashion and design will be a step in the right direction.
“Many are attracted to pursue a career in the fashion industry due to the lucrative income opportunities. Aside from that, the idea that you can succeed on your own should motivate you more.
“As a matter of fact, about one-third of professional fashion designers are self-employed,” he said.
The coordinator explained that the 22 beneficiaries went through a six months intensive training on fashion design, starting with needle works, use of manual sewing machines to electrical and other industrial machines.
He said the trainees within the period have learnt to sew diverse range of garments, including uniforms, wedding dresses for bride’s maid and suites for grooms.
Boroh said that as part of their community service, the beneficiaries made 50 hospital bed sheets and children wears to be donated to two orphanages
He said that the beneficiaries also had additional fashion-related skills, including business management, mathematics, basic accounting skills, tailoring and accessory making, such as bags, hats, jewelries, flowers, belts, basic shoe making, to ensure they succeed.
According to him, textiles and clothing has great scope to offer employment and to transform lives because it’s labour-intensive nature.
“It is a platform that can be used to engage hundreds of youths across nation.
NAN recalls that the Amnesty office had trained 508 beneficiaries across the nine oil-producing states to establish their own crops, poultry and fish farms.