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Nigeria - Vocational training to create micro-businesses

Youth Inclusion and Education - Committed to empowering socially at-risk young people


Total Nigeria’s Skills Acquisition Program cuts unemployment amongst underprivileged young Nigerians by teaching them manual and technical skills. Rukayya Aliyu, a 30-year old seamstress, explains how it helped her.

Like all Nigerians I finished junior secondary school. I went to a religious, Arabic school. My children, three girls and two boys, are at government school and I aim to earn enough money to be able to send them to a private school. I wanted to work near my home, Makera District in Kaduna state so that I could be with my family. I was first taught how to sew by a woman who has a shop and she told me about the Skills Acquisition Program. So I applied for it. I am now one of the 60 graduates of this program that started in 2008. Others on the program were doing welding and fabrication, furniture, fashion designing, fish and crop farming and computer studies but my chosen vocation was to be a seamstress so Total gave me more training in sewing. Total also gave me monthly allowance during the training period to assist me with my learning materials and upkeep. After I had completed the one-year program  I was given a starter pack which included my sewing machine, weaving machine, generator, pressing iron and other tools used by tailors so that I could open my own business. Total even paid two years of the rent for my workshop.

Total provided me with everything I needed to start my business, from my sewing machine to the workshop rent.

Rukayya Aliyu seamstress

Looking forwards to a bright future

During my training, and even now, I carefully applied everything I was taught and today, I am proud that the people who trained me can come and see me working. For me the training was important because it taught me how to organise my workshop and my business. Less than three years after I started up, I already have three apprentices. We all work together in the workshop and I really enjoy it. Thanks to this program, now I am doing what I really wanted to do. I hope that in the future I can continue to grow my workshop and have more apprentices and pass on what I was taught.