The IT Camp, part of the vocational training program organized by the Akwa Ibom State Association of Nigeria (USA), Inc. (AKISAN USA), kicked off on Friday, January 22, 2021. The National President of AKISAN USA, Mr. Itoro Akpan-Iquot, stated that this, among many other programs, is being organized to financially empower people in Akwa Ibom State. It is also the first time that AKISAN USA is implementing a project via private donors, as opposed to via general donors at their annual convention held every August. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that there was no convention in 2020, the association does not have the funds to organize association-related projects for the time being. According to Mr. Akpan-Iquot, we should never let a serious crisis go to waste. Consequently, we should use the period of the pandemic to come up with innovative ways of raising funds for the association’s endeavors.
The training is carried out by Start Innovation Hub, located at 264 Oron Road, Uyo. According to its CEO, Mr. Hanson Johnson, classes will take place 5 days a week, 4 hours a day. After the training, participants are encouraged to stay on for an additional 6 months, at no cost to their sponsors, for an apprenticeship program which will better position them for job placement. Start Innovation Hub was selected as the official trainer based on their stellar record performing similar training for others over the last 10 years. With a job placement success rate of 60%, it is no wonder that Start Innovation Hub is the choice for such training in the state. The program also has an added benefit of injecting money into the state through the ripple effect of those who stand to benefit from the money spent on feeding, accommodation and transportation, to mention but a few.
With 16 students participating, the current IT camp is a pilot program. Participants chose to register for 1 of 4 areas – Android Development, Web Development, Graphics Design, or Digital Marketing. The results of this first cohort will be used to determine the viability of the project, moving forward. The plan is to have 2 sets of classes per year as well as to expand the program to as many as 50 students at a time. According to Mr. Akpan-Iquot, IT is the future. Other countries like India and China invested in it over 50 years ago and are just now reaping the benefits. It is about time, according to him, that Akwa Ibom citizens also take advantage of the opportunities IT provides. On day 1 of the program, participants went through an orientation where various individuals, including Mr. Hanson, and Mr. Ime Uwah, SSA to the Governor on to the state governor on Marketing and Brand Management enlightened those in attendance on the importance of IT and how it can be leveraged to reduce the high unemployment rate of the state. In the interest of total transparency, one of the major pillars of Mr. Itoro Akpan-Iquot’s administration, a web portal will be set up where sponsors can monitor the progress of their beneficiaries on a monthly basis. Thanking the sponsors of the inaugural program, Mr. Akpan-Iquot said their good deeds will go a long way to positively impact the lives of their beneficiaries. To the beneficiaries, Itoro tasked them to make their sponsors proud and to go out and conquer the world.
For those who are not able to participate in the IT camp, there will be other vocational training programs to choose from in the near future – Fashion Design, Culinary Arts, and soap/detergent-making. Stay tuned for details which will definitely be coming soon.