The Centre of Practical Skills

#Irregular Migration #Migration and Development #Economy, Education and Private Sector

November 2020
Godfrey Okoye University in Enugu, Nigeria; Leeway Investment GmbH
Implementing Agency
ICMPD is focused on the implementation of the Centre of Practical Skills, with financial support from GIZ.


The Eco-Social Market Economy (ESME) Initiative was developed by ICMPD and private sector partners to respond to the socio-economic challenges and to the drivers of irregular migration in Nigeria. The public-private initiative responds to the needs of the private sector, developmental as well as migration objectives in Nigeria in an integrated, mutually beneficial way, and consists of three integrated components: the Business Park, the Centre of Practical Skills, and the Start-Up Centre.

The Initiative was approved by the President of Nigeria and is supported by the Governments of Austria and Germany.

In partnership with Godfrey Okoye University and European private sector partners ICMPD is implementing a vocational training facility - the Centre of Practical Skills (CoPS) - in Enugu, Nigeria. CopS is part of the broader public-private initiative „Eco-Social Market Economy“ (ESME), which also includes a European Business Park, to provide investors with quality infrastructure, and a Start-up Centre to facilitate entrepreneurship.

The challenges that the ESME Initiative aims to respond include: 

  • high youth unemployment rate
  • lack of economic opportunities as a driver of irregular migration
  • investors continue to face barriers, incl. infrastructure, qualified workforce, access to electricity, internet or water
  • lack of access to capital for entrepreneurs

Key Objectives of the ESME Initiative are:

  • provide sustainable livelihoods to Nigerian youth through education and employment opportunities, thereby tackling some of the root causes of irregular migration
  • create favorable environment for and encourage investment in Nigeria by European SMEs to contribute to local socio-economic development
  • provide opportunities for sustainable reintegration of returnees & promote women participation in work force, and
  • develop and implement a legal/circular migration pilot

Components of the ESME Initiative

Establishes a secure and economically beneficial environment for companies and keeps the value added in the region. It is located on a 530,000 m² property provided by Godfrey Okoye University in Enugu, provides adequate infrastructure (energy, fresh water, sanitation, security and IT), and is constructed with eco-friendly rammed earth and bamboo materials. 

The Park can offer:

  • Independent energy supply (solar and natural gas)
  • Independent water supply (wells),  sanitation and trash disposal  
  • New road to the facility from the airport
  • High-speed internet 
  • Gated, 24/7 security, including through the federal services 
  • Welcoming community, network to local clients/partners/service providers
  • Business Park can build facilities for the investor based on specifications

The current status of the business park: 

  • Completed: Infrastructure planning & site clearing - 2020
  • Internal Roads and well for independent water supply 
  • Construction of key infrastructure Q2/2021 – Q4/2022
  • Infrastructure operational in Q1/2022 
  • 11 fully committed partner companies, investing as of 2021 with their own projects (production, distribution, etc.)
  • Ongoing discussions and negotiations with additional 10 companies
  • Plan: at least 25 companies by the end of 2025

Investment opportunities in the following sectors:

  • Light manufacturing
  • Textiles
  • Alternative Energy (Solar)
  • Certain sub-sectors of construction
  • Agriculture
  • Food Processing
  • Logistics/Transportation
  • ICT
  • Hospitality/Tourism
  • Advertisement
  • Entertainment (TV and Radio)

Together with European partner companies, the Centre of Practical Skills provides vocational training for Nigerian youth in directly marketable skills via a dual education concept. 

Training approach / Philosophy:

  • Follows market needs / demand-driven
  • Dual education concept – combination of theoretical classroom sessions with traineeships
  • Curriculum definition together with European training institutions and companies
  • Dual education training with partner companies in Enugu
  • Employment of graduates by partner companies, or supported via the Start-up Centre

Planned timeline: 

  • Inception phase – ongoing
  • Implementation phase start in September 2021 
  • Training phase 1: Mid-2022- mid -2023, up to 120 trainees
  • Phase 1 Focus on construction related job profiles 
  • 6 committed partner companies for traineeships

Next phases: scale up, agriculture/food, tourism, textile, ICT 

The Start-up Centre advises graduates on how to build successful and sustainable businesses and provides financing through a venture capital fund and a Micro Finance Bank.

In particular, the Centre aims to:

  • Support the creation of strong local MSMEs for job creation and also as potential partners for European investors, focusing on access to funding and capacities
  • Establish a entrepreneurship training based on the modernised existing STEP Programme of Godfrey Okoye University
  • Provide counselling and support centre assisting young entrepreneurs with any issues for planning/ establishment of their businesses (e.g. planning, registration, financing)
  • Provide Start-up capital through two financing vehicle: Venture capital fund and partnership with a Micro Finance Bank

Project Manager

Alexander Muterko

Project Manager