It gives me great pleasure to stand here as we graduate the third batch of Ready-Set-Work Scholars. Congratulations to the Ready-Set-Work Class of 2018.
Three years ago, I stood on this same spot and looked across a room of about 500 Ready-Set-Work Scholars, 52 volunteer facilitators, friends and partners of Ready-Set-Work – many of whom are in the room today.
At the time, Ready-Set-Work was a newly-birthed idea, and a deliberate endeavour on the part of this administration to ensure that any student who graduated from a tertiary institution in our State possesses all the requisite skills, knowledge, tools, as well as the right mindset to contribute to theLabour Market; whether as a value-adding employee or a job creator.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that over the past three years, we have stayed true to this vision and scaled up our impact. I invite you to take a look across the auditorium today to see how that small spark in 2016 has become a roaring fire.
From 500 Ready-Set-Work Scholars in 2016, we are celebrating today the impact of this program on the lives of over 37,000 students who have participated in the Ready-Set-Work program over the last three years, either through the RSW On-Campus Training or through the RSW Online Academy.
We have taken it a step further by supporting top performing students by providing paid internship opportunities, as well as seed funding and incubation for viable business ideas. To date, over 1,200 RSW Scholars have benefited from internship placements, and another 2,000Scholars from the 2018 graduating class will also be placed in internships.
I am reliably informed that the first place winners of the 2016 Ready-Set-Work Business Pitch Competition are, with seed funding and incubation support, now on track to producing up to 10,000 liters of biogas daily within a community in Ikorodu, with zero carbon emission.
Other ReadySetWork graduates are adding value and making us proud as employee’s top companies and countless small businesses across the State.
We thank our network of over 1,000 employers who, through the years, have contributed to preparing RSW Scholars for the world of work, by providing internship opportunities in their organizations.
Some of our partner organizations have taken on the cost of paying their interns, but Lagos State has also had the privilege of supporting small and medium size businesses by paying the stipends for their interns over a period of 3 – 6 months.
In marking another successful edition of Ready-Set-Work, we cannot overemphasize the important role of our Volunteer Facilitators, the largest volunteer faculty in Nigeria. These selfless individuals gave up their Saturdays, traveled from far distances, committed to multiple hours of preparation, and made other sacrifices for 13 weeks to invest in our students.
RSW Faculty, we applaud you. You inspire us and exemplify the saying that all it takes to change the world is “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens.”
My remarks will not be complete without special thanks to heads of tertiary institutions for collaborating to ensure the success of this program. Our host institutions this year – Lagos State University, Lagos State Polytechnic and the University of Lagos – all went the extra mile to provide adequate facilities for the duration of the program.
I thank our corporate partners and sponsors again for their commitment, financial contributions, and technical support. We trust that we can count onyou to continue investing in the future of Lagos State.
Ladies and gentlemen, as the world awakens to the realization that investment in human capital is critical to the success of any nation, we in Lagos are happy to celebrate today, three years of consistent investment in our people, as we present to you the Ready-Set-Work Class of 2018.
By investing in people, we will secure the future prosperity of Lagos State and Nigeria. Withprogrammes like Ready-Set-Work, Code Lagos and the Employment Trust Fund we are providing platforms that will nurture a society of problem solvers, change-makers, and value adding citizens helping to improve our economy.
These innovative programmes must therefore, not be allowed to die.
Finally, to the RSW 2018 Graduating Class, I say go out there and transform our nation. We are proud of you.
ItesiwajuipinleEko, lo je wa lo gun