CoPS: The Centre of Practical Skills

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

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 to 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 a favourable 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's participation in the workforce, and
  • develop and implement a legal/circular migration pilot
Duty Stations
Enugu, Nigeria
November 2020 to September 2023
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.
Austrian Development Cooperation


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 Germany and Austria.

CoPS Project Highlight 2023

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 – the 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 – Completed 
  • The implementation phase started in September 2021 
  • Training phase 1: ongoing, up to 100 trainees
  • Phase 1 Focus on Plumbing, Masonry and Electrical Installation job profiles 

For more information click here

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 Team

Amarachi Chike-Jerry

Project Manager

Onyeka Akunna

Project Officer, Operations

Maxwell Odimkpa

Junior Project Officer

Julie Adegbesan

Project Assistant