Job creation and income generation are two vital indicators of economic growth in developing countries, especially Nigeria. This, in turn, depends on the availability of an appropriately educated and skilled workforce with the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for work in the globalized economy.
A former Commissioner for Wealth Creation & Employment in Lagos, once stated that many Nigerian graduates are unemployable. He has never hidden his fear that many training institutions are churning out graduates whose skills do not match what the labour market wants.
His position is in sync with the notion that the country’s youth unemployment scourge could be traced to the obvious mismatch between what employers need and what the nation’s tertiary institutions are pushing out.
Why it matters: The former commissioner and other critics are emphatic that tackling rising unemployment required a comprehensive reform of the education system in a manner that will produce graduates with qualifications and skills that match the needs of the job market. He said if the job market is incapable of offering sufficient opportunities for the country’s unemployed youths because of skills mismatch, “then it’s time to turn to alternative solution by horning the skills of youths like BLK Prestige Investment does, through deliberate training, to suit market or employers’ needs.”
It is important for both the government and private firms to work with development partners to offer courses on employability and entrepreneurial skills and such employability skills programme should target 400 people to get jobs after acquiring new skills.
Such an initiative would focus on soft skills, preparing Curriculum Vitae (CVs), interviewing for jobs, and learning how to design or look at the feasibility of a business project.
Alongside offering skills courses, it is also required to go a notch higher by setting up a state-wide network of job registration and counselling centres to help youths consider career options, adjust to the realities of the job market as well as find local employment and training opportunities. The purpose of the project was to make sure youths get access to the information they need to make carefully and consciously planned choices for their future.
It also aimed at helping to create a level playing field for unemployed graduates who do not have personal connections through friends and family members to secure their dream jobs like it is obtainable in BLK Prestige Investment or rise to top positions when they get one. The project involves a broad package of supportive measures including career guidance, trainings, active job search support and work experience programmes.
However, the need for training and mindset shifts not only among youths but also among government officials in business management. This entails strengthening the skills of young entrepreneurs through training and mentorship as well as providing financial support like BLK Prestige Investment.
It is worthy to note that some states are ready to work with employers in managing and strengthening education and training system to adapt curricula quickly to meet changing skill demands.
Such cooperation should be developed at all levels, including tertiary institutions, and cover short-term training to address swiftly skill deficits. It is also to support high-quality career guidance to help people make well-informed choices about their learning and careers, with digital entrepreneurship as an important part of this effort.
Some of the states government were dedicated to enhancing digital entrepreneurship by bringing together corporations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), trade unions, civil society, academia, as well as digital entrepreneurs in partnership. Their strategy was to digitalise existing traditional businesses and like BLK Investment Prestige, provide an enabling environment for staff to thrive and transfer of skill to the unskilled.