In fulfilment of the promise to fully engage youths in productive activities that would make them contribute to the economic growth of the State and the nation at large, the Lagos State Government has trained 703 youths in various vocations and entrepreneurship skills across the six Educational Districts of the State. The vocational training and entrepreneurship development programmes are aimed at enabling the youths to become self-reliant and employers of labour while they shun social vices. In his key note address at the graduation ceremony held in Rotary Vocational Training Centre, Igbogbo, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Education, Barrister Tokunbo Wahab, stated that the vocational and entrepreneurship training programme engaged the youths in activities that make them contribute to the socio-economic development of the society and shun clandestine activities such as kidnapping, rape, restiveness and other vices capable of undermining the development efforts of the State government. Congratulating the 248 graduands at the Igbogbo Centre, the Special Adviser informed that other participants also graduated from the State’s vocations centres, which had a total of 703 students completing their training across the seven locations in Lagos. Wahab explained that various ongoing empowerment and entrepreneurship skills programmes embarked upon by the State Government, such as the Jobs Initiatives Lagos (JIL), Eko Digital Skills, Adult Literacy Education, Vocational training among others were in tandem with the Security and Governance pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the State. His words: “As a proactive government, we have lined up a lot of youth empowerment programmes, a lot of skills development initiatives that will bring out the best in our youths and give them the opportunity to use their talents and creativities to develop themselves and contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of their States and country at large.” He expressed the government’s worry about the level of destruction to public infrastructure during the #EndSARS protest across the country, adding that some unscrupulous individuals took advantage of youth restiveness to hijack the protest and engage in the destruction of public property. Dr. Wahab, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adeniran Kasali explained that the ongoing infrastructure projects commissioning by Governor Sanwo-Olu is to commemorate two years of progressive governance in the State, pointing out that youth empowerment is also crucial to achieving the vision of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda. He recalled that the State Government was able to train and empower just 748 vocational youths in year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but gave an assurance that year 2021 would be better as the government will embark on various youth development initiatives. While congratulating the beneficiaries of various vocational and entrepreneurship programmes, the Special Adviser urged them to fully utilise the benefits of the scheme to develop themselves and become employers of labour to justify the government’s huge investments. Earlier in her welcome address, the Director, Agency for Mass Education, Mrs. Oluwakemi Kalesanwo disclosed that the venue of the graduation ceremony was provided by the Rotary Club, District 9011, as part of its youth development and partnership programme. She noted that graduation ceremonies would continue in other centres including; Agege, Odoragusin, Ikorodu and Sabo in Yaba until the end of June. In his goodwill message, the Oba of Igbogbo Kingdom, Oba Semiu Orimadegun Kasali, commended the State government for initiating empowerment programmes targeted at youths, maintaining that the effort would go a long way to reduce crimes while allowing beneficiaries to contribute to the economic growth of their fatherland. Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mrs. Bimbo Odubona, a Cosmetics and Make-Up graduate described the programme as the best she had ever attended, noting that learning the vocation privately could be very expensive. She thanked the State Government for giving her such a life-changing opportunity, promising to use her new job to support her family. The highlight of the event was the presentation of prizes to trainees who distinguished themselves in their various vocations. #LASG #ForAGreaterLagos