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The government of Imo state has disclosed that it has concluded plans to empower no fewer than 100,000 youths through its ‘SkillUpImo Challenge’.
The state government said this in a statement on Tuesday.
It said the youths will be trained in advanced-level digital skills in computer appreciation, device repairs and maintenance, content creation, web design and development, internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, cybersecurity, among others.
According to the statement, the competition, which is a sub-initiative of the ‘SkillUp Imo’ project set up in 2022, is aimed at empowering youths with cutting-edge digital skills that will keep them relevant in the 21st century.
It added that the ‘SkillUpImo Challenge’ will help to propel digital innovation and ideas among students in the state, adding that winners will be awarded cash prizes each week.
“As a concrete demonstration of its pioneer status of being the first state in Nigeria to align its digital economy policy direction with that of the federal government, the Imo state has introduced a weekly youth competition to ignite and unlock students’ digital literacy ingenuity and innovation in the state,” the statement said.
Speaking on the competition, Chimezie Amadi, commissioner, ministry of digital economy and e-government, Imo, said the ‘SkillupImo Challenge’ will accelerate the actualisation of broader objectives of the ‘Skillup Imo’ project.
The broader objectives, according to Amadi, are to train 300,000 Imolites over the next three years, with 100,000 trained each year; connect 60 percent of the graduands to high-paying jobs as well as empower 40 percent of the graduands to be their bosses, becoming tech entrepreneurs and launching their own companies, among others.
“The training of the first batch of 100,000 youths progresses in 2023 under the Skillup Imo project, which aims to train 300,000 over the next three years, the sub-initiative, SkillUp Imo Challenge has been created to sustain the interest of the youth and boost excitement in the digital skill acquisition programme,” Amadi added.
“Through the SKillUpImo Challenge, a student stands the chance of winning cash or other forms of prizes each week for demonstrating great commitment to learning and putting good efforts to show workings of skills learnt.
‘The first batch of 5,000 students from the 100,000 that will be trained this year, will be graduated by the end of January 2023, to immediately bring onboard the next batch of beneficiaries of the digital skills acquisition programme for training.’
‘The SkillUpImo project is all about creating content that can be marketed using digital tools that the public is able to embrace, consume and pay for,” he said.
The commissioner also assured that with the ongoing implementation of the project, the current administration would soon realise its vision of making Imo state the digital skills hub of Africa.
He added that the government is prepared to provide necessary support and tools to accomplish the lofty digital economy objective of the project.