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Time To Professionalize Youth Work in Nigeria

Minister of Youth and Sports Development with his Permanent Secretary
SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT MR. SUNDAY DARE AS THE SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOUR ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL YOUTH WORK WEEK CONVENTION OF NIGERIA YOUTH WORKERS ASSOCIATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP HELD AT BLOCK D CONFERENCE HALL, FEDERAL SECRETARIAT, PHASE 2, ABUJA ON FRIDAY, 5TH NOVEMBER, 2021

Protocol 

It is a great honor for me to present a speech as a Special Guest of honour on this auspicious occasion of the first International Youth Work Week convention and capacity building workshop of Nigeria Youth Workers Association. 

I am delighted that this maiden International Youth Work Week convention and capacity building will not only create awareness on the crucial  need to galvanise  human and other resources to confront headlong the high rate of youth unemployment and the excruciating burdens it has placed not only on the Governments at all levels but the entire Nigeria society. 

There is no gainsaying that youth unemployment is a great challenge facing all governments in various parts of the World and Nigeria is experiencing her fair share of the consequences of unemployment.  This has been worsened by the recent COVID-19 Pandemic which has ravaged economies and led to the closure of many small medium enterprises and drastically affected big organizations thereby rendering redundant our youth and increasing the unemployment rate. 

Cross Sectoon of Youth Workers
Ladies and gentlemen, permit me therefore to say that the need for capacity building workshop being put together by the organizers of this convention at this point in time is apt. This is because it would serve as a panacea for improving the skills of the youth workers through the acquisition of the skills that are required for job retention and the transmission of same to the youth who constitute our constituents.

The Federal Government over the years has initiated and implemented various programs and projects to curtail youth unemployment by engaging them in meaningful and productive ventures that lead to socio-economic growth and development. The present Administration under President Muhammadu Buhari in the past six years has initiated and implemented very laudable programs to mitigate the growing menace of youth unemployment haunting the Nigeria State.  These include Presidential Youth empowerment scheme (P-YES) under the Special Assistant to the President on youth, the N-Power, the Youth entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme, Graduate internship Scheme, Technology Fund for Young innovators.

Minister of Youth and Sports Development with Members of Nigeria Youth Workers Association
Minister of Youth and Sports Development with Representative of Nigeria Youth Workers Association

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development under my watch launched the DEEL initiative aimed at giving Nigerian Youth a comparative edge in the global employment demand and supply.  DEEL is an acronym for D-digital Skills acquisition, E-employability, E-Entrepreneurship and L- Leadership. The DEEL initiative has equipped 200,000  youth with basic, intermediate and advanced skill in areas such as Web design and management, software training, cloud competing, Artificial Intelligence, App development, code and data processing, etc. 

All these efforts would amount to little or nothing if those who are responsible for programme design and implementation are not equally adequately prepared. It is for this reason that the coming together of the body of youth development practitioners, under the banner of the Nigerian Youth Workers Association is a welcome and an important milestone in the journey of youth development in Nigeria.

Mr. Chairman Sir, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my comrades in the youth work practice, as you are aware, the issue of advancing youth development according to the motto of your association is no doubt a multifaceted phenomenon which requires a multi-sectoral approach.  This is because no one agency or organ of government can adequately address youth issues/ challenges, hence we need to have all hands on deck in tackling these challenges, and the time is now.                                           In the words of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, “Young People ought not to be idle.  It is very bad for them”.  It is this idleness of young people in our society that has either led to or heightened the very bad influences of kidnapping, insurgency, banditry, Boko haram, human trafficking, prostitution, cyber crimes, terrorist activities, armed robbery with violence, etc.

In the light of the foregoing, I challenge this gathering to come up with unique ways and strategies that would facilitate the professionalization of youth development work in Nigeria, with a view to aiding in tackling the challenges facing our young people in other for us to secure a sustainable future.

Finally, I wish to commend the organisers and partners for this laudable initiative for organizing this convention and capacity building workshop which is worthy of emulation. I request that the report be made available to the Ministry for consideration of our partnership and continued collaboration in the future.  

Thank you all and God bless

Award
Minister of Youth and Sports Development receives Award
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