BY ADEBAYO SANNI
Nigeria has benefited from the high oil prices and has become accustomed to high revenues, which have boosted the economy. While many may watch the tumbling oil price with dismay, in some ways it can be viewed in a positive light. The loss of oil revenues has compelled the country to give more attention to other areas of the economy, including technology, where revenues can grow, and help break the reliance on a single non-renewable resource.
Technology access and innovations are playing a pivotal role in helping Nigeria grow and diversify. Technologies such as cloud, mobile, social and integrated hardware and software are catalysts for business, and enable companies to have more immediate access to computing solutions that can help them drive their business.
As these new technologies and computing models emerge, so does the need for new IT skills. Technology leaders, in collaboration with the government, should commit to mentoring and educating young people. This can set them on course to embrace basic skills and technology fundamentals that can help them become more productive members of the national workforce, both in the public and private sector.
Given the pervasive and pivotal nature of technology in today’s world, the IT industry has a crucial role to play. And in a fast-changing country like Nigeria, the need for IT skills is more important than ever.
Oracle has a large and committed presence in Nigeria. Oracle, and through Oracle Partner Network, works with the government to create skills development, training and mentorship programs. Oracle is currently involved in various advancement programs in the country, aimed at developing technology-skilled members of the Nigerian workforce.
Lagos State Workforce Development Programme
Oracle and Lagos State have just completed Phase 2 of the Lagos State Workforce Development Programme, to assist in training graduates on Oracle Database or Oracle E-Business Suite. This programme provides graduates with opportunities to acquire industry-relevant skills and internships within the private sector and in some of the State’s ministries.
One of the programme’s participants, Monjolaoluwa Abidakun, had this to say: “Educative, exciting and inspiring are the words that describe the Lagos State Workforce Development Programme. Engaging in hands-on practice and instructor-led training was truly insightful and I am grateful to have been able to participate the training. I have since been offered an internship in the private sector, which is an opportunity I don’t think I would have received if I had not been part of the programme.”
Oracle Nigeria also offers hands-on internships at Oracle Nigeria to grow a pipeline of fresh business and ICT talent for Oracle and its West African ecosystem. Currently, 12 interns are engaged at Oracle Nigeria.
These are just two examples of initiatives that Oracle, as a local employer, is driving to support the creation of a technical savvy workforce – other programs include supporting universities and women in leadership activities.
Technology is no doubt changing the way we live and work around the world and specifically in Nigeria.
Public and private organisations have a responsibility to work together to help young people acquire key business and IT skills that can help them in turn to cultivate long-term success. Individuals, companies and governments are already using technology to innovate, bringing a fresh approach to creating new businesses or boosting growth in industries that make up the Nigerian economy.
Adebayo Sanni is the country managing director of Oracle Nigeria