Governor Ambode’s ReadySetWork Initiative; an Innovation worthy of Emulation
By Tajudeen Hamzat
The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwumin Ambode has initiated many educational development projects for youths especially student. Among these programmes is the ReadySetWork project which was initiated by the Lagos State Ministry of Education with the aim of preparing Lagos state final year students for what awaits them in the labour market.
The thirteen weeks intensive training on work-based and entrepreneurial skills acquisition focuses on equipping the selected students with market-aligned knowledge, soft skills, business tools, and a mindset tooling and reorientation as to how the world of work truly functions. Not only are they be trained but they the project also places some in internships, thereby providing them with apprenticeship opportunities in various corporate organizations.
The programme kicked-off in 2016 with the training of 500 final year students from three tertiary institutions which are Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) and Lagos State College of Health Technology (LASCOHET).
In ensuring the success of that inaugural episode of the programme, the Lagos State Ministry of Education, partnered a network of stakeholders including Corporate Organizations in Nigeria, Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions and training partners who jointly came together to form a formidable force that led to the success of the first phase of the initiative.
As at the end of the programme phase one, 472 students graduated and 197 of these students were successfully placed in internships and apprenticeship opportunities in various corporate organizations.
This development is therefore a fitting contribution towards reducing the astronomical number of unemployed youths in the state as well as addressing the issue of unskilled graduates from tertiary institutions in Lagos State, and bringing same to a manageable minimum rate.
The second phase of the programme in 2017 saw an increasing number of graduates from six tertiary institutions, Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Lagos State College of Health Technology (LASCOHET), Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED) and University of Lagos (UNILAG) respectively applying, after which 2,000 final year students were selected and trained with 1000 of the number eventually getting placement opportunities.
The initiative which seems to be growing yearly has culminated in the launch of the ReadySetWork Online Academy to provide training in foundation courses for up to 10,000 students in their final year who seek to participate in the programme.
This year, 2018, the programme will host 5,000 final year students from 9 tertiary institutions, adding three schools to those who participated last year. The new additions are Yaba College of Technology, Federal College of Education (Technical) and a private institution, Caleb University.
In addition, 20,000 students in their penultimate year from all these 9 institutions will be admitted to an online learning academy to prepare them for admission into the programme in their final year.
As a means of encouraging the participants, His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has equally approved the payment of N30, 000 as monthly stipends to each of the Ready.Set.Work (RSW) interns.
This new development was announced by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, saying the Governor also approved N8 million in seed funding for the top five winners of the RSW Business Pitch Competition, whose businesses would be placed in incubation.
Mr. Olemoh explained that this year’s beneficiaries would commence their internships and incubation respectively on March 1 adding that the RSW faculty recruitment would kick off officially on Feb. 22, 2018 and the application portal would be accessible on the programme website.
Participants are upbeat about the experience. For example, when our correspondent spoke with a beneficiary of the 2017 programme and student of Lagos State Polytechnic, Balogun Kamil, he said: “I am fortunate to be among the 1,000 students who got placements. I have also just received a text asking me to resume for internship for 6 months, I have acquired some skills during my 13 months training and I hope to exhibit them when I get to my place of work”
He however added that they have been informed that the Lagos State Government will pay them N30, 000 monthly within the internship programme and that employers can decide to retain those who perform excellently well.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode