The disaster we have today with youths and unemployment is that there are so many youths who can do nothing apart from writing a CV, that is even if they are the ones that wrote the CV they are carrying about. This simply means that if they do not get a job in the next three (3) years the only thing some people will still be able to do is just to write a CV!
The present economic dispensation will give us the impression that there is no job but in the middle of this some people will be getting serious offers of employment. The only difference will be that some people who think they have skills will be looking for jobs while those with proven skills will have companies running after them!
A member of the house committee on youths in the House of Representatives during an orientation exercise of the National Youth Service Corp in Sokoto state said there are about 150,000 thousand youths deployed annually to serve in different parts of the country. The next thing that struck me was that all of these youths would have to be gainfully employed immediately after their youth service but the problem is that not all of these people seem to know where to go to get the ideal job. Some of them have just been told there is no job and some others just feel you must be connected to get a job.
Youths have to be gainfully employed to be productive but the way to be gainfully employed is to take our minds away from the job mentality. Once people have the job mentality they will always see themselves as people who must be given jobs and people who must be spoon fed all the time. When they eventually get this job they will begin to look forward to being paid and having pay increase even when they are not improving their skills. We must recognize that nobody really want to pay you just because you have been in a place for several years. You are supposed to be paid because of the value you are adding.
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) and its Nigerian counterpart, National Examination Council (NECO) and Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examinations (UTME) record that more than one million (1,000,000) candidates write examinations annually but not up to three hundred thousand (300,000) of the one million candidates can make it to the tertiary institutions. The implication is that there at least about seven hundred thousand (700,000) youths who are looking for something to keep them busy until they can go back to school. I do not have the figures for those who have been to tertiary institutions but have not enrolled for the National Youth Service Corp but the figure certainly triples that of those who are officially registered for National Youths Service Corp who are now looking for jobs.
One of the things young people can do right now is to take interest in some specific skills and begin to equip themselves. This is the time when even graduates must be able to do something physical apart from just being able to write a CV. I think a graduate now must be able to say, ‘I am a carpenter but I have my BSc.’ This is the time when graduates must be able to say I am a BSc. Holder with a Masters’degree in another field but I am a tailor.
One other thing I must not forget to say is that some of the people who apply for jobs do not get jobs not because they are not qualified but because they do not take their appearances serious. I remember Leke Alder, a man referred to as the number one brand consultant in Nigeria, saying, ‘some people fail their job interviews just by showing up. Every employer has his ideal picture of an employee. Some slouch when they walk in and some are just not the picture of the employee that you want.’ Following that I will suggest to young people to begin to take their dressing serious and that does not mean they have to be dressed in expensive clothes. They only have to make sure that the ones they have are properly laundered! You should learn to look like someone who is wearing an expensive shirt even when you are wearing a cheap one!
I am not just going to outline issues without talking about what I feel people can do if they are really ready to make a living.
1.) Youths must understand that it is not the certificate that will give you a job. The certificate only proves that you have been tutored.
2.) The real essence of being educated is not to go and get a job. You were educated so that you can think and take initiatives for your life and future challenges. One of those challenges is making a living after school.
3.) This is the time to be entrepreneurial rather than just waiting for someone to give you a job. There are basic daily needs for every human being around you. When you decide to provide those needs for people around you the you will be paid.
4.) Let youths attend seminars not to be motivated alone and shout the name of a speaker but to be equipped. You do not have to attend seminars where all they do is talk. Let’s have more of skill acquisitions and let’s take actions after learning the skills. There are opportunities all around us.
If only we will look towards the daily needs of people around us then we will be able to take care of our own daily needs without always having to expect someone else must give us a job. I can see jobs everywhere despite the fact that people are saying there are no jobs. What will determine what you are saying sometimes is how much skills you have.
Go and get skills and not just certificates!
Fola Daniel Adelesi, ASM
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