The Nigerian Youth is Employable; and I Have Proof Tuesday, February 5, 2019
The employment debate is one every Nigerian employer and employee has had to partake in, subconsciously or actively. On one hand, the Employees are saying they have skills but no jobs. On the other side, the Employers opine that Human Resource is most critical and Nigerian Graduates are not just qualified to be trusted with positions. This debate has its own register, that throws up words and phrases like: connection (not internet), half-baked (not bread), packaging (not consumer goods) and the likes.
I have been on both sides of the debate, and also a neutral observer. When I founded InfoMall, I knew the calibre of people I wanted to help me pursue the vision of being a fast rising, quick adapting, technology and project management firm. Now here was the problem; the skilled ones were expensive, and the available ones were unskilled. It got me thinking. Here were an army of young people, passionate and willing to work, but lacking the requisite skill. What did we do as a brand? We decided to go a step lower to the employment feeding funnel. If schools will not churn out the type of talents we wanted, we would go to schools and tell those willing to self-innovate what skills we require, so they can build it up before they come out of the funnel.
The results were remarkable. We saw raw passion and talent. Youngsters willing to learn over the internet, via mentorship or wherever. People willing to take on projects and up their entrepreneurial thinking. This same method has been applied by giant conglomerates like Unilever. Today, the banks are following suit, setting up ambassadorial programmes to have a presence in schools and prep them for the future.
Surprisingly, students who pass through this system land jobs easily, and settle in quickly. I bet to say they rise faster too. The Nigerian system does not create soft skills for her youths, and the policy makers are not willing to change it anytime soon. It is simply in the interest of the young ones to use whatever tools at their disposal to skill up. Use the internet, attend MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), volunteer, intern and so on.
There are jobs in this country, and employers are willing to hire if they find the right talent. However, the Nigerian youths are employable, if given the right atmosphere for growth. InfoMall is proof. If companies spend a fraction of their marketing budget to train undergraduates, they will find that the innovative ones will gravitate towards them to become bright employees and possibly future business partners. After all, the undergraduate of today might just be the manager of tomorrow. Catching them in school is a way to go - ask GTB and InfoMall.