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70 graduate from IWS Skill centre as it marks 19th Anniversary


President, IWS, Abimbola Ademola-Bawaallah, left and Chairperson, Skills Centre, Feyisola Abiru with the best overall graduating student, Precious Ogar

The International Women Society (IWS) this week sent off 70 students from their vocational and skills acquisition centre and celebrated its 19th anniversary in grand style.

Speaking with The Guardian, the President of the society, Abimbola Ademola-Bawaallah said in furtherance of the organisation’s aims and objectives of enriching lives, it ventured into skills acquisition training for the youth with the provision of training in catering and events management, sewing and fashion design, hairdressing and salon services, adult literacy classes and computer studies and photography, saying she was confident that as the set graduates, the centre has met the needs of the underprivileged persons in the society. 

“The centre was the brain child of Dame Marie Fatayi-Williams in her presidency year.

Through the changing years impressive improvements have been made through the interventions of Chairpersons like Amina Ahmadu, Sonja Ally, Evelyn Akeredolu, Chioma Atuokwu, Elsa Bishop and Nkoli Ogbolu.”

“Now, we have over 1,500 alumni members in our alumni forum (ISCAA).

The Centre, under chairmanship of Nkoli Ogbolu instituted various schemes such as ISCAA, GIT (Guest Instructor Thursday), Adire week, participated in Africa Fashion Week (AFW) 2017, GTB Food Festival, excursions to Eko Atlantic City and the annual Walkathon outreach programme.

As an incentive for human resource growth and development the annual Miss IWS beauty pageant was also inaugurated to build confidence and leadership qualities.

“Added to all these, the Centre was accredited by the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) meaning that students can work anywhere in the world with NABTEB certificates.

The centre is witnessing its 4th series of exams this week.

It was also during this last year that the street on which the centre resides was named IWS Close, courtesy of Oba Saheed Elegushi, Kusenla III, the ruler of Ikate-Elegushiland.

The Elegushis have been very supportive of the centre, with Olori Elegushi endowing the best overall student every year for the past three years with a trophy and startup kit.”

Promising that they are planning to introduce new courses soon, Vice President, Nkoli Ogbolu said the best overall graduating student this year is Precious Ogar of Catering and Events Management, who took home the trophy donated by Olori Sekinat Aramide Elegushi, Queen of Ikate-Elegushiland, as well as lots of prizes in cash and kind as start-up kit for her business.

Chairman of occasion and renowned motivational speaker and women’s rights activist, Laila St. Matthew-Daniel, spoke on, Engaging Youths Profitably In The 21st Century Business Development: Lessons Learned From Vocational Skills Training,” where she decried the nation’s poor educational system, unavailability of technical schools, dwindling and struggling economy, lack of motivation, dearth of exemplary leaders and inadequate support from the financial sector, listing them all as factors that have contributed to destroying the Nigerian youth.

She went on to add that today’s youths need to be discouraged from seeking short cuts to wealth and embrace instead, education and good values.

“We also need to restructure our educational system. Children graduate but are not equipped with any skills to occupy their time whilst waiting for the next step in their lives.

The inclusion of vocational training from primary school level will equip them better to face whatever delays may occur.

Also, during the holidays, kids shouldn’t be made to concentrate only on learning mathematics or English.

“They should also learn some skills like painting, arts and craft, tailoring, carpentry and so on.

Not only will it help them in creative thinking, which is an essential tool for success, but it will make them hands-on in the home as well as equip them to be self sufficient if the need comes up in the their life’s journey.

It is not every one who can go on to tertiary institutions.

There are vast areas in the market place that needs focused technical and vocational training skills.

The need for more technical schools to enable this cannot be overemphasized and what IWS has put up should be replicated in various parts of Lagos and all over the country.”

She also called for business development courses and flexible business loans and grants with little interest rates as steps that will assist many unemployed youths become business owners and stand on their two feet.

Chairperson of the centre, Feyisola Abiru, said over 1,500 students have passed through the centre over the years and all of them are doing well on their own.

She urged the students to be shining examples and make them proud while calling for more students to join them so they could train more and “make our economy stronger and more vibrant.

As we commemorate our 19th Anniversary, we invite all and sundry to collaborate with us in the business of empowering lives through our Sponsor-a-Skill and Adopt-a-student schemes.”

The other graduating students were all issued certificates and IWS is partnering with banks and agencies to provide soft loans to enable them set up their businesses.

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