The National Directorate of Employment has demonstrated its commitment once again towards women and youth empowerment in Ondo and Osun State. Over 250, 000 people have been trained in different skills under the Vocational Skills Development programme of the Directorate. One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Segun Ogunrinde is from Boripe local government area of Osun State. According to him, NDE empowered him in 2011 with a loan of N150, 000 with which he established a flower garden business. He has successfully grown different types of flowers in the garden such as, Aloe-Vera plant, celosia plant, croton, cordyline plant, just to mention a few. Mr. Segun has been able to create not fewer than 27 jobs and has about nine people currently under-going training in its flower garden. He was full of praises for the Directorate for the opportunity granted to him to become self-reliant.

Under the small scale enterprises (SSE) programme of the NDE in Osun State, over 6,000 people has been trained so far in bakery business, ranging from cake baking, chin chin making and small chops. Ayobo catering services is owned by Mrs. Rebecca Adeyemi, a mother of four,located at No. 10, Jatto close, in Ayedade area of Osun State. According to Mrs. Adeyemi she has been in the bakingbusiness since 1999 and later applied as a master trainer in 2002 with the Directorate. Since 2002 till date, thousands of women and youths have undergone training in her outlet. She remains greatful to the NDE management for empowering her and also giving her the opportunity to transfer the knowledge to other people in the community.

Another place visited in Osun State is Lady Edo Miracle Fashion Designing Shop, located at the back of Capital Hotel, Osogbo. One unique thing about Lady Edo fashion shop is that she specializes in making both men and women’s wears, weddinggowns, corporate wears, native and English wears. She is one of the largest fashion designing outlets in Osogbo. She was also trained by the NDE in 2006 and established her own business in 2009 with a capital of just N180, 000 thousand naira. Today, she can boost of over 1.7 million naira in terms of capital strength. While at her shop, one can see customers trooping in to demand for their finished wears. About 14 young women were cited undergoing various degrees of training in her shop. In her words, “I can never forget what NDE has done for me, they made me what you are seeing today”.

Another outstanding place visited was a fish farm located at Ibukun-oluwa road, Osogbo, Osun State. The fish farm is owned by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Osun State. Answering questions, Mr. Jide Ayoola confirmed that NDE normally sends their trainees to the farm to under-go training in fish farming and hatchery. About 8 trainees of the NDE were cited at the farm preparing to feed the fishes. The fish pond has the capacity to accommodate over 1,000 pieces of fish.
Hakeefem Block Industry is owned by Mr. Kayode Abdulrashaq who is into block molding and interlock production. His shop is located in Akure, Ondo State. He owes it all to the training and empowerment programme of the National Directorate of Employment with a soft loan of 300, 000 to start his own business. He makes an average of 15 to 20 thousand naira daily from the sale of blocks. His business has grown so well that he has established another mini production branch in Akure. He expresses satisfaction in his work because it helps him in taking care of himself and his family.

At the NDE/MDG skills acquisition center in Akure, Ondo State, women and youth were seen undergoing various trainings ranging from, Cosmetology, Photography, tailoring, hair-dressing, baking, computer training, just to mention a few. At the photography section, a graduate of Mass Communication was among the participants, he spoke extensively on the level of knowledge that has so far acquired. Though, he expressed his gratitude to the Management of the NDE for the opportunity given to them to acquire a skill, he called on the Directorate to upgrade their training equipment and possibly grant them a soft loan to start their own businesses. Also at the cosmetology class, Mrs. Rosemary said she hopes to establish her own business after the duration of the training exercise.

Kanmi s. Rowland