Ukinebo Dare, 33, is the Senior Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Skills Development. She speaks about her job and what it entails
What is your educational qualification?
I have a Bachelor in Computer Science from Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, and a Master in Management from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom. I also have a certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship from Clark Atlanta University, United States of America.
What is your job description?
My role is to boost synergy between government initiatives and the private sector in such a way that it will boost job creation in Edo State. I focus on upskilling youths in Edo State for career development and personal growth while connecting them to jobs. In general, we are working on skills reform in the state.
What stirred your interest in skill development?
I have always had passion for people’s development. I spent seven years in the private sector helping young people come into their full potential and connecting them to jobs. I believe strongly that if you can help an individual develop his/her skill and knowledge, then you have changed that person’s life for the better. When you create good opportunities for people to explore, it will reduce unemployment that will mitigate various societal ills and vices. I am motivated by being able to drive an initiative that will change the landscape and make a lasting impact on the lives of people.
How did you become the SSA to Edo State governor?
I learnt very early that success is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration. People always ask me why I work so hard but to me, I don’t see it. I work the only way I know how. My work philosophy is to have nothing left. When I do something, I give it my all, no matter who pays, doesn’t pay, appreciates or doesn’t appreciate. I was taught to fulfil purpose and have the courage to pursue it with hard work, commitment and dedication. This has endeared me to everyone I have ever worked for. The reward for good work is more work, more work when done rightly, leads to more responsibility in a higher role.
What notable strides have you made as the SSA?
Under the leadership of the governor, I have made very notable strides in a very short time. One of which is Innovation Hub. It is an initiative that will create thousands of jobs for the people of Edo state in the ICT sector.
Where did you work before your appointment as SSA. Can you tell us about your time there?
Poise Nigeria Limited. It is a company which trains youth across Nigeria and connects them to various job opportunities. I was the chief executive officer for seven years and we partnered with local and international organisations as well as higher institutions at different times. Before my appointment as SSA to Governor Godwin Obaseki, I was the Group Managing Director of Poise Nigeria.
What are your aspirations?
My aspiration every day is to keep growing till I become the best version of myself. I want to give life to all I have been sent here to do so that I will be able to give a good account to my maker about everything he gave to me.
What are some of the challenges you face on your job and how do you surmount them?
The job tends to get a bit overwhelming sometimes especially when I am surrounded by very senior intellectuals who have done so much in life. I surmount this challenge by being grounded byin what I do and remembering that God brought me here through my work. I am also grateful that in my own little way, I am able to inspire young people to be better and to take charge of their lives.
What other achievements would you like to share?
My biggest achievement or blessing is my family. I won the Ford Foundation Prize for Youth Employment at the Future Awards in 2015 and I am a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow.
What does success mean to you?
Success means living out my full potential and improving the lives of other people as a result of the work that we do.
Who are your role models?
My parents are my first role models. They taught me the true definition of hard work and persistence. Even as a grown woman, I still look up to them for guidance and insights in virtually every area of life.
What was the last book you read and what did you pick from it?
Napoleons Buttons; it left me with a huge impression about understanding your solutions before you apply them.
What word of encouragement do you have for youths?
Every youth should take charge of their lives and pursue their goals with determination.