You can turn your passion into a pay cheque, that exactly was the sentiment of the Fidelity Bank MD Nnamdi Okonkwo as the create a veritable platform for building an entrepreneurial spirit in the country’s teeming youths. Fidelity Bank Plc has expanded the scope of the Fidelity Youth Empowerment Academy (YEA) in a bid to accommodate new areas of vocational training.
On February 10, 2020, the bank in strategic partnership with Gazelle Academy commenced the seventh edition of the highly successful YEA at the Sokoto State University (SSU), Sokoto. Apart from the typical training on tailoring and make-up, participants will also be provided with requisite skills and first-hand knowledge in Fashion Designing, Cloth Embellishment, Cocktail and Phone Engineering among others.
Over 200 undergraduates of Sokoto State University (SSU) will benefit from this programme. So, why does the bank invest in young people? Says Fidelity Bank MD, Nnamdi Okonkwo: “When Fidelity Bank says, ‘turn your passion into a paycheque’, that’s a message of empowerment. As a bank, it recognises that the youth look at the world with fresh eyes and such lively determination, and create much-needed change by throwing convention out the window. That’s why the bank, through its laudable interventions, continues to develop innovative programmes that unleash the creative energies of Nigerian youths which, in turn, represents formidable new frontiers for sustainable national development.”
YEA is a skills acquisition, training and productivity improvement scheme targeted at youths, especially undergraduates in Nigeria’s higher institutions. This empowerment programme, which is part of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is primarily targeted at creating a new breed of entrepreneurs amongst Nigeria’s boisterous youth population.
Over 3,000 students have benefited from YEA programs at University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Waziri Umar Federal Polytechnic, Birnin-Kebbi; Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra State; Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt; Bayero University, Kano and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Some beneficiaries who have since started their own businesses were recognized at the event. Fidelity Bank has also provided students with high-quality sewing machines, pressing irons and make-up kits to make sure that undergraduates utilize the skills and experiences garnered at the youth empowerment workshop to improve their lives before and after graduation.
In essence, the Bank has succeeded in making entrepreneurs out of students who will be financially responsible and independent. Through this programme, the Bank has earned a significant measure of goodwill with state and local governments that have in some cases translated to business relationships and have contributed to the Bank’s bottom line.