In Nigeria, recent data indicates that youth unemployment increased to 42.24% in the first quarter of 2016 as the country’s economy contracted by 0.36% the lowest since 1991.
Such statistics of jobless youths are indeed raises concern for a country currently fighting insurgency in the north east and militancy in the South South.
But even worst still, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had made job creation one of the cardinal points of his administration.
Without doubt, the raging Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping, militancy and other anti-social are indeed providing hibernation for the unengaged youth. Thus, the imperative of finding the right mix for employment is now paramount more than ever before.
While unemployment as a phenomenon has indeed become a worry, joblessness amongst youth in particular, has put global peace at risk as dangerous behaviours have provided alternative pastime for the roaming unemployed persons who are mostly young adults.
Hence, the need to fashion out programmes that will provide alternatives to the white-collar job and also occupy students when they are on long holiday is now more desirable than ever before.
The Acting Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Kunle Obayan, said there is the need for youth to embrace skills acquisition initiatives. He hinted that the NDE’s new initiative tagged ‘School-to-Work Scheme’ is intended to engage students during their long vacation with a view to providing them with job alternatives upon graduation as well as exposing them early to work experience.
He explained: “The NDE has noticed that Nigeria can actually reduce unemployment from the upstream instead of waiting until youths graduate downstream. This entails catching the youth quickly and on time. The NDE believes that if youth start early in life to acquire skills training, such a step gives them a strong direction towards possible areas they can eventually go into in the future just in case they may need skills to survive in life. Most times, youth don’t have any counseling as they grow. This also contributes to them having wrong impression about life and how to navigate the verisimilitudes of life thus become a difficulty. Therefore, choosing career path is often a herculean task but exposing them early into various skillset, they would then already have academic work going side-by-side acquisition of skills. This enables them find out what areas they are better at. Recruiting them from Junior Secondary School (JSS) will enable them know that there are other areas other academics that they can also explore as they plan for their future. Again, it awakens their latent potential early enough. Even those that want to be earning money at young age can begin to cater for their immediate needs because all the skills acquisition are areas of income generating activities. This is even more important for indigent students who can use such avenues to generate some money for themselves, which will also assist their parents in settling some bills. Acquiring skills early in life does not stop them from proceeding to the university but rather it will help many youths from dropping off the education line into nothing.”
He argued that the NDE is convinced that its new School-to-Work scheme will definitely aid families to navigate the rough side of life especially in sponsoring their wards to school and also in finding where their wards fit in when they decide not to further their education.
Obayan highlighted that young people who do not have the financial capacity to further their education would have had some forms of empowerment training that would help them make money to send themselves to school.
He also explained that Scheme is intended to engage students who roam the streets during their long vacation and prevent them from engaging in anti-social vices.
Obayan highlighted that School-to-Work Scheme, which would be flagged-off in one of the northern states in August, is specifically designed for Junior Secondary School (JSS) Two students that are going into JSS Three and Senior Secondary School (SSS) students going to SSS Three.
He added that that the Scheme is a two-month training programme with the opportunity of going through apprenticeship the following year when the participants graduate.
The NDE boss added that the Directorate would also include the training of entrepreneurial skills in its School-to-Work scheme, its Acting Director-General, Kunle Obayan has disclosed.
Source : Leadership