Committed to creating more opportunities for Edo youths to tap from Nigeria’s booming tech ecosystem for self-reliance, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, is subsidising the training of youths in in-demand tech fields, such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Machine Learning.
The six-week training programmes are being run by Curators University and held at the Edo Innovation Hub, Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), Wire Road, Benin City. At the last count, over 250 youths have been trained, which is also partly funded by Microsoft.
Young people who want to take the same courses in Lagos and Akure, Ondo State pay as much as N160,000 ($140), in cases where they don’t get sponsors or subsidised by Curators University. This makes Edo one of the most IT-friendly state in the country.
The programme, open for undergraduates and graduates, is being subsidised through EdoJobs, Edo State’s skills development and job creation platform.
Senior special assistant to Edo State Governor on Jobs Creation and Skills Development, Ukinebo Dare, said the gesture was part of the governor’s promise to create at least 200,000 jobs in Edo State before 2020, noting that up to 90,000 jobs have been created so far.
According to Dare, “Students in the programme get to learn Python and R programming languages and are encouraged to continue with advanced level work at the end of the 6-week training. By the fourth week, they are able to tackle real-life problems in data science and machine learning and are ready for the workplace.”
A beneficiary, Princess Oviawe, a 300-level undergraduate at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), said though she could code in HTML and CSS languages before the programme, she was able to learn Python and R, and was now confident of working as a freelancer even before graduation.
Joy Ativie, a graduate of Literature and English, said she did not know any code before joining the programme, noting, “My only exposure to code were these lines of number and letters I always saw online that looked like Greek. They have always fascinated me. My quest to make a career change into technology and related areas drove me to the programme. I’m writing code now. I can also use data to do several things. It’s amazing.”