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Sterling Bank empowers technicians cash prizes

Over 82 technicians from different parts of the country competed for honours in skill categories that include robotics, plumbing, carpentry, shoemaking, web and graphic design during Africa’s biggest skills festival powered by Sterling Bank at the Landmark Events Centre in Lagos from December 4 -5.

At the end of the two-day competition organized by iCreate Africa Limited, 14 highly skilled technicians were crowned national champions for exceptional performance in their categories. Two additional outstanding technicians were also rewarded with cash prizes as well as silver and bronze medals respectively. Breakdown of the 42 winners revealed that 17 technicians competed from the Southwest region, 14 from Northern region and 11 from the South East region.

Categories with the highest scores in the competition were robotics, automobile engineering, plumbing and leather works. Winners in these categories are Miracle Olasoyin with a 99 per cent score in robotics, Leonard Manzo with 98 per cent score in automobile engineering, Chima Solomon with 92% score in plumbing and Lot Madaki with 90 per cent score in leather works.

Overall winners in other categories are Ibraheem Ridwan (Carpentry), Christopher Olaniyi (Tiling), Oluwasegun Akanbi (Electrical), Toheeb Ogunbiyi (web design), Audu Precious Adayi (Graphics), Ifedayo Emmanuel Bello (Cooking), Mojisola Akin-Ademola (Fashion), Akinlo (Art), Emmanuel Abanobi (Make up) and Abdul-Rasheed Kelvin Hassan (Barbing).

First of its kind on the African continent, the festival which promotes technical skills and vocational education had in attendance Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, MD/CEO, Sterling Bank and other captains of industries; top government functionaries that include the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; over 50 industry experts and judges, 200 volunteers and over 2500 local and international guests.

In his keynote address at the event, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, disclosed that the bank is prepared to stand by skilled professionals who are out there solving the real problems of the country because their successes could inspire others as well as change the prevailing mindset about technical and vocational education.

Mr. Abubakar called for a change in mindset of stakeholders in the labour market such that people who are engaged in vocational skills could be respected and supported to earn decent living like their counterparts in white collar jobs. “Vocational skills have been reduced to a point where very few people are proud to say it is what they do for a living.”

Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, disclosed that the Federal Government has approved the establishment of new Federal Science and Technical Colleges in 16 states of the federation to reposition the nation’s educational system for self-reliance.

The minister noted that technical and vocational education and training hold the key to the development of the country’s industrial sector, adding that the challenges of youth unemployment could best be addressed through quality education that guarantees self-reliance.

Nwajiuba said entrepreneurship education and training is globally recognised as an important strategy for tackling youth unemployment. Consequently, the Federal Government has trained more than 500 science, vocational and mathematics teachers on the use of modern equipment and new approaches in schools.

On his part, Founder and CEO of iCreate Africa, Mr. Bright Jaja, said it has been an amazing journey so far and he is honoured to have stakeholders that are committed to the realisation of a dream which started over a year ago.

He said following the successful outcomes of the skills competition for the second consecutive year, iCreate Africa plans to introduce the iCreate Skills League (ISL) in 2020 in a bid to spread the competition to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Jaja said each state would have a team made up of budding artisans such as barbers, tailors, plumbers and tilers from its technical and science colleges. Teams in each of the country’s six geographical zones would compete against each other and the winners from each zone would compete in the final at the national level, he said.

He said the winning team would represent Nigeria at the World Skills Competition in China later in the year. Thereafter, the league would be expanded to cover the African continent.

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