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SkillupImo: Imo State's ambitious venture into silicon valley

As a concrete demonstration of its pioneer status of being the first State in Nigeria to align its digital economy policy direction with that of the Federal government’s, Imo State has introduced a weekly youth competition to ignite and unlock students’ digital literacy ingenuity and innovation.

The competition tagged: ‘SkillUpImo Challenge’, is a sub-initiative of SkillUp Imo Project, a broader and premier human capacity development programme launched by the State Government in December, 2022.

As a propeller and offshoot of the SkillUpImo Project, the SkillUpImo Challenge will help to fire up digital innovation and ideas among students in the state with cash prizes handed to a winner each week.

The SkillUpImo Challenge is expected to drive the overall objective of the SkillUp Imo Project, focused on empowering citizens of Imo State otherwise called Imolites with cutting-edge digital skills that will keep them relevant in the 21st century; among others.

At the maiden edition of the SkillupImo Challenge held at the Head Office at No 28 Egbu Road Owerri, a student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) Centre, ChucksOfficial was adjudged winner in digital skill innovation, in the first week, based on shared experiences, ingenuity and digital innovation exhibited.

While presenting the cash prize to the winner, the Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Digital Economy and E-Government in Imo State, Dr. Chimezie Amadi, said the Skillup Imo Challenge will accelerate the actualization of broader objectives of the Skillup Imo.

The Honourable Commissioner in his address noted that the broader objectives, are to train 300,000 Imolites over the next three years, with 100,000 trained each year; connect 60% of the graduands to high-paying jobs as well as empowering 40% of the graduands to be their own bosses, becoming tech entrepreneurs and launching their own companies, among others.

He added that the training of the first batch of 100,000 youths progresses in 2023 under the Skillup Imo Project, which aims to train 300,000 over the next three years, the sub-initiative, SkillUp Imo Challenge has been created to sustain the interest of the youth and boost excitement in the digital skill acquisition programme.

Dr. Chimezie Amadi, a firm believer of innovation and creativity, disclosed through the SKillUpImo Challenge, that a student stands the chance of winning cash or other form of prizes each week for demonstrating great commitment to learning and putting good efforts to show workings of skills learnt.

Futhermore, the Digital Boss stated that the first batch of 5,000 students from the 100,000 that will be trained this year, will be graduating by the end of January 2003, to immediately bring onboard the next batch of beneficiaries of the digital skills acquisition programme for training.

While commending the students on their seriousness and diligence exhibited so far, the Commissioner encouraged the youths to do more and be more.
In his words “Be more of a doing person than a talking person. The SkillUpImo Project is all about creating content that can be marketed using digital tools that the public is able to embrace, consume and pay for”.

Dr Chimezie Amadi assured that with the ongoing implementation of the Project, the Senator Hope Uzodinma-led administration would soon realise its vision of making Imo State the Digital Skills Hub of Africa, as he is prepared to provide necessary support and tools to accomplishing the lofty digital economy objective of the Project.

In receiving the cash price on behalf of the winner, Mr Excel thanked the Honourable Commissioner for the government’s ingenuity and interest in seeing to the empowerment of Imolites with fore front digital skills that will keep them relevant and endorse them as the preferred world over.

The SkillUpImo Project combines hard technical skills with soft employability skills, SkillupImo project is aimed at grooming well-rounded professionals who can ply their trade at any level in the local and global digital economy. It covers entry and advanced-level digital skills such as computer appreciation, device repairs and maintenance, content creation, web design and development, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data Analytics, Cybersecurity et cetera.

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