Cross River state governor, Sir Ben Ayade Tuesday said that the new West African Construction and Fabrication Academy, Calabar, will address the dearth of middle level skilled manpower in the state.
He spoke in Calabar while commissioning the Academy built by his administration.
His administration, he disclosed, has brought in seasoned experts from across the world on various skills to impart knowledge on the trainees and prepare them for the future “for skill is key, the future has moved from intellectualism to action, so let your hand work feed you.”
The governor decried a situation where by virtually all artisanal works in Cross River are undertaken by persons from outside the state, saying the situation portends danger to the economy of the state.
He charged Cross River youths to utilise the opportunity offered by the Academy to earn a living “because this construction and fabrication academy is for you. Even if you are a graduate, even if you hold a PhD, you need to have a skill; if your certificate cannot give you job, let your hands give you job, for any man who depends on salary remains a slave”.
He announced the release of N400 million takeoff grant for the Academy, saying he was changing the Cross River story.
“I have released the sum of N400 million as takeoff grant to make sure the young people who come to this program will have full value. We are gathered here today to create a new story, before now it was quite difficult to find a young Cross Riverian laying claim to any skill.
“I went to Odukpani junction where we are building a spaghetti flyover and of all the engineers, nobody is from Cross River State, I turn to the iron benders, nobody is from Cross River State. When you go to the garment factory and I remember the construction phase, no tiler was from Cross River State, you go to our poultry farm at Pamol where work is going on, I turn back and ask where are you from? I don’t find any Cross Riverian. For how long can we continue to depend on certificates?”
Earlier in his address, the state Commissioner for Youth Development and Skill Acquisition, Hon. Signor Omang Idiege commended the governor for setting up the Academy.
He expressed optimism that with the youths occupied with various skills, youth restiveness will be reduced to the barest minimum.
The academy, which took off with an initial 500 trainees, offers training in wielding and fabrication technology, masonry works, carpentry, modern roofing, upholstery and furniture works.
Others are plumbing, electrical (auto, conduit wiring works and installation), refrigerator, air conditioning repair and installation, screeding and painting, aluminum glazing, computer (ICT) literacy and repair and fashion designing and training.