Imo State to partner Cisco, Huawei, NABTEB on ‘SkillupImo’ project
By Chinenye Anuforo
Following the successful graduation of 5,000 youths in Cohort 1 of Imo State’s youth digital empowerment and employment scheme dubbed: SkillUpImo Project, the State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, is set to commence the second segment of the digital skills acquisition programme.
This is just as the State government is considering partnership with technology companies such as Cisco, Hauwei and Microsoft as well as the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) for certification and value optimisation of the programme.
The continuation of the programme with the Cohort 2 is in keeping with the vision of making Imo State the leading digital economy hub of the nation and having delivered on the promises made on the flag-off of the first leg of the SkillUpImo Project under the direct implementation purview of the State’s Ministry of Digital Economy and E-Government.
The State Governor places high premium on the SkillUpImo project due to its potential of achieving the triple objectives of positioning Imo state as the digital skills hub of Africa, tackling youth unemployment as well as diversifying and building the state’s digital economy.
Already in the Cohort 2, 15,000 Imolites are now jostling for 10,000 slots at the ongoing enrolment, a reflection of the realisation of the success of the Cohort 1 training programme which have produced graduands, who are already monetizing their skills as techpreneurs while others have been linked to various employment opportunities.
Speaking in an interview, the Hon. Commissioner for Digital Economy and E-Government, Dr. Chimezie Amadi, confirmed that Pre- Admission Assessment has been conducted for over 15, 000 prospective trainees who registered for the Digital skills training, which he said was oversubscribed.
“Unlike in Cohort 1, we had to conduct the pre-admission assessment to enable us to sieve the huge size of prospective trainees and ensure that only committed learners were admitted and enrolled in the right programme. We learnt a lot of lessons in the course of managing Cohort 1 and the introduction of Pre-admission assessment is one of the ways designed to improve our processes to meet the programme objective and achieve the intended outcome,” he Amadi said.
According to the Commissioner, going by the extent of work his Ministry had done with respect to process re-engineering, Cohort 2 promises an enhanced learning experience for both learner and instructors in the programme.
Explaingn further, Amadi said, “In Cohort 2, four additional learning centers viz : Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo Polytechnic Omuma, University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo and K. O Mbadiwe University, Ideato, have been established to complement the existing learning centers at the Ministry of Digital Economy and E- Government headquarters. These existing learning centres are Imo State University, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Polytechnic Nekede and Claretian University, all geared towards enhancing access to digital skills learning for Imo youths across the State.”
While stating that the training will cover various sheds of soft and hard digital skills, the Commissioner said his Ministry will be partnering with technology companies such as Cisco, Hauwei and Microsoft as well as the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) for certification and value optimisation of the programme.
Ministry of Digital Economy and E-Government conducted Pre-admission assessment tests on the March 23, 2023 and had issued admission letters online from March 28, 2023 to successful candidates. Also, onboarding of admitted students were carried out on March 29, 2023 at the various designated centres while the Orientation Programme will hold online today, March 31, 2023.
The SkillUpImo Project is rooted in the First Pillar of the Imo Digital Economy Agenda (I.D.E.A) 2022-2026 on Digital Literacy and Skills with the objective of positioning Imo as Africa’s Skills Hub through massive training of 300,000 Imolites in new innovative and industry 4.0 skillset that equips them to be productively employed or self-employed in a digitally evolving world.