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Nigerian youths have been called to seize opportunities offered by centres for skills acquisition and capacity building across the country to prepare themselves for self-employment.

The call was made over the weekend at the commissioning of Smart Jobs Project Centre - a private sector capacity building and empowerment centre in tourism and hospitality.

The centre, which is under the auspices of Consolidated Alliance, through its subsidiary, Viko Limited, is in partnership with Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), to provide a platform for training and empowerment of young graduates in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Declaring the centre opened, the Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (Nihotour), Mrs Chika Balogun, described the tourism and hospitality industry as the greatest employer of labour with little entry barriers.

Noting that it would be almost impossible to leave the business of tourism development and promotion entirely in the hands of the government, the D.G commended managing Director, Consolidated Alliance, owners of Smart Jobs Project Centres, Chief Chidi Lucky Kanu, for his contribution to the sector.

She reiterated that the centre, through its capacity building drive, has succeeded in meaningfully engaging the youths.

"This is a very laudable project. We are proud of NIHOTOUR's partnership with you. We are absolutely proud of this project. Consolidated Alliance has stepped forward to show its excellence by even helping us in the infrastructural development of our campus in Benin City, Edo State", Mrs Balogun stated.

Before the commissioning of the Abuja Centre, the company has trained over 1000 young graduates in Edo state.

"So, the company is already in full partnership with NIHOTOUR. With the opening of this Centre to further provide training to young people and get them off the job market, the company has brought to bear, an exceptional innovation in the industry.

This is a one-stop shop. It trains as well as empower individuals so that they become self-reliant and will in no distant future, become employers of labour", she added.

The D.G used the forum to invite other interested stakeholders for collaborations in tourism development.

According to her, "NIHOTOUR is particularly pleased to see people engage in the development of tourism.

"While we work together with other regulating bodies to develop the standard for Nigeria, we are looking forward to more partnerships that will work towards building infrastructure and developing the tourism sector."

Earlier in his welcome address, the Managing Director, Consolidated Alliance Chief Chidi Lucky Kanu, accepted that the private sector has a lot to do with curbing unemployment in the society.

He added that the centre was motivated by the desire to fully equip young graduates for career independence.

According to him, the centre offers total services in hospitality and tourism including booking of local and international flights, provision of tour guides, accommodation, local transportation feeding.



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