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Develop your skills to bridge unemployment gap, startup tells youth

Develop your skills to bridge unemployment gap, startup tells youth
July 16
20:38 2020
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SkillNG, a Nigerian-based startup, has organised a conference to commemorate the World Youth Skills Day (WYSD).

The WYSD was designated by the UN in 2014 to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.

The conference themed: “Skills For a Resilient Youth in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond”,  held virtually on Wednesday.

In his opening remark, Ibrahim Oredola, founder of SkillNG, lamented over the unemployment rate in Nigeria, saying a skill mismatch exists between youth abilities and requirement from the market industry.

He said youth across the country need to develop their skills in order to bridge the existing unemployment gap.

“In Nigeria, one in every two persons is either unemployed or underemployed. There is a great skill mismatch between what our youths have and what the industry wants. It has been said that Nigerians are educated but jobless. So how do we change this? We can only do this as a result of strategic skilling of our youths,” he said.

“In addition to whatever thing you have studied or you are studying, we have to explore other career options especially in digital opportunities.”

Addressing participants at the event, Tijani Oluwamayowa, TheCable’s development editor, said many Nigerian youths are confined in thoughts by what they see in their environments.

He said the world is changing on a daily basis, adding that the humans that would survive are the ones that can adapt with the changing times.

“We are shaped by our experiences. The best way to be employable is to shape your experiences,” he said.

“You cannot allow Nigeria to train you.  You have to see the world as your playing field. Do not look for opportunities only in Nigeria. You must be able to adapt to every and any part of the world.

“When you are thinking of alternatives, you should think of your areas of strength. The world changes and if you are not in the right position, you are out. Whatever skill you have, don’t sit on it. Things are changing faster than humans can actually pick up with. And COVID-19 coming into the space has changed things radically.”

Speaking on the conference theme, Miracle Ewim, a digital marketing executive, shared her story with the participants, narrating the difficulty she encountered while preparing for her industrial training while in school.

“A lot of my colleagues couldn’t get a place to go for their industrial training. But I was opportune to get NAFDAC, however, I had to pay to learn in NAFDAC but NAFDAC didn’t pay me. I knew there was a problem with the system immediately,” she said.

She said her experienced influenced her to seek other career opportunities outside the course she studied at the university.

Ewim urged youths to research more on the future of works and the fourth industrial revolution.

On his part, Abolaji Omitogun, a youth engagement fellow at Making Cents International, emphasized the need for obtaining skills needed for international opportunities.

Omitogun, an Atlas Corps fellow in the US, spoke about contribution of international organisations as well as opportunities in the global space.

He urged youths to skill themselves in interested areas of specialisation in order to benefit from various opportunities by multinational organisations.

“There is need for constant re-skilling and also there is also a need for up-skilling yourself. So don’t feel comfortable learning just one skill but also improve on those skills. If you need to get some certifications or you want to add more skills, go get it,” he said.

While Christiana Kayode, founder of She Innovators Foundation, urged participants to be be committed, resilient and also to develop a positive mindset

“Youths need to have a positive mindset. The place of positive mindset cannot be overemphasized,” she said.

SkillNG, which boasts of over 10,000 learners, engages in both physical and verbal tutor-led classes, peer-to-peer learning, provision of internship and job opportunities for students.

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