Sterling Bank Plc has entered into a partnership deal with iCreate Africa to support over 500 youths from the Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
The two-day festival , held in Enugu, included competition for honours in vocational and technical skills across categories such as cooking, website design, graphic design, art, leatherworks, garment making, make-up, plumbing, carpentry, tiling, among others.
At the end of the competition, the organisers disclosed that winners in each category would represent the South Eastern region at the finals in Lagos where national skills champions will be selected to represent the country at the world skills competition later in the year.
According to Mr. Arinze Okeleke, its Retail Business Manager, Enugu branch , described unemployment as one of the biggest economic challenges currently facing Nigeria, hence the desire and passion of the bank to sponsor youth empowerment programmes that would help to create wealth in the country.
He stated further, “In order to demonstrate our commitment to wealth creation, Sterling Bank has, over the years, invested in programmes that uplift startups as well as micro and small businesses which are the key drivers of growth in every economy. In Enugu, for instance, we have trained more than 1,000 youths as a prerequisite for accessing single digit loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Our support for iCreate Africa’s skills festival is part of a deliberate effort to correct the wrong notion that the only way to make it in life is through white collar jobs.”
Okeleke said that the skills competition/festival is the bank’s way of tackling the increasing wave of unemployment by celebrating and promoting skill sets that include plumbing, tailoring, tiling, automobile engineering, catering, and hairdressing, among others.
Also commenting on the partnership, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of iCreate Africa, Mr. Bright Jaja, said the idea behind the project is to change the societal perception about vocational and technical skills.