(By Olumuyiwa Thomas)
“The role of youths themselves in improving their dire job situation is certainly not in question. First and foremost, there is need for a radical shift in youth’s pervading mindset, many of which are rooted in unfounded unrealities. Many still cling to the fallacious notion of “securing that dream job on graduation is a certainty”, because “I am highly educated”, and that “white-collar employment is the ultimate dream job” because “it guarantees lifelong security”.
Continued from yesterday
SKILLS training must also incorporate the informal sector, where a large segment of the country’s vulnerable (particularly those out of formal school) find solace. A commendable programme in this regard is the NDE’s National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (NOAS) that is designed to provide technical and vocational skills to unemployed and underprivileged youths. For more meaningful impact, however, NOAS scope should be extended to the rural sectors of the economy. This has the added benefit of checkmating the alarming rural-urban drift.
The National Productivity Centre (NPC), another Federal Government agency, has taken up the challenge of not only imparting skills training, but more importantly imparting relevant 21st century skills and competencies. Under its time-tested Productivity Awareness Campaign (PAC), the Centre has particularly targeted the youths, with the aim of improving their work output, as well as imparts the relevant and demand-led productivity improvement skills and competences. There is also the NYSC Productivity Lectures Series which provides productivity education to corps members in their various Orientation Camps as they prepare to enter the real world of work.
Productivity-In-Action (PIA), (a variant of the PAC), is directed at the secondary schools, and has the primary objective of introducing the students, early in their teen years, to productivity, particularly as it relates to their academic studies. In Edo State, for example, the Centre just concluded its 2014 PIA, with a befitting final of the Inter-School Productivity Debate championship. Also mindful of the huge skills gap in the informal sector, the Centre, through its Productivity Training Series (PTS), has conducted productivity-centered training at some vocational institutions, notably the Lady Mechanic Initiative (LMI), (an NGO providing free auto-mechanic training to vulnerable girls in Nigeria)), and the Nigerian Opportunities Industrialization Centers (NOIC), a vocational training institute. Under the PTS, vocational trainees/students in these institutions these schools are exposed to rudiments of productivity, particularly on how it can improve their marketable, employable and transferability skills on completion of their training.
The private sectors, needless to say also, have an important role to play both in job creation and skill training. As stakeholders in job creation, they should not merely complain about “talent shortage” (despite growing ranks of well-educated unemployed), or merely “cannibalize” the brightest from rival companies, they should be seen to be actively involved in developing human capital by investing more and providing more and continuous on-the-job training (for those currently working), encouraging learning within enterprises, and promoting the inclusion of disadvantaged youths in their training schemes.
The role of youths themselves in improving their dire job situation is certainly not in question. First and foremost, there is need for a radical shift in youth’s pervading mindset, many of which are rooted in unfounded unrealities. Many still cling to the fallacious notion of “securing that dream job on graduation is a certainty”, because “I am highly educated”, and that “white-collar employment is the ultimate dream job” because “it guarantees lifelong security”. Of course, it’s usually a matter of time before the harsh labour market jolts them to reality. Therefore, to survive and remain productive in this globalised –driven world, Nigerian youth should be self-reliant, independent and self-employed They should imbibe the “I-Can-Do Spirit”, the creative instinct that creates rather than look for non-existent jobs; the innovative spirit that craves for “what I can do for myself” and “what I do best”. Welcome, talent. Ever wonder why the Ali Babas, Basket Mouths, Eddie Murphys of this comical world always smile to the bank, the same way they always make you laugh? But this is not just for the asking. The youth should also realise and accept that responsibility for self-development is solely one’s own responsibility. Our government, parents, even teachers can only provide the enabling environment for our creativity to be unleashed. And when such environment exists? I tell you, sky is often not the limit. Only few weeks back, some creative Nigerian undergraduate of UNIBEN and UNILAG respectively did us proud at an international Innovation contest with a winning proto type vehicle that was wholly locally crafted. Kids like those talented bunch rarely looks for job. Jobs look for them.
• Thomas is the state coordinator, National Productivity Centre (NPC), Edo State Office (Covering Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo States). Federal Secretariat Complex, Aduwawa.
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