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WORLD YOUTH SKILL DAY 2020: SKILLS FOR BUILDING A RESILIENT YOUTH (A SkillNG Conference)

The virtual conference which held on July 15, 2020 started exactly by 2.00 PM with Mr. Ibrahim Oredola, the Team Lead of SkillNG giving an introduction on the topic of discussion—unemployment, under employment and skill mismatch among Nigerian youths. According to him the reason why 9 out of 10 Nigerians are unemployed is due to lack of skills, under skilling and skill mismatch between the industries and the youths. Nigerians are educated but jobless and this can only be changed as a result of strategic skilling of youths. He opined that concurrent multiple careers is important to solve the problem of youth unemployment.

Panelists at the World Youth Skills Day’s SkillNG conference

Miracle Ewim, a digital marketing executive who studied Microbiology was the first speaker. What made her realize that there was a problem in the system was the fact that she was made to pay for her industrial training in NAFDAC without getting a dime and this led to her finding alternative means. She discovered digital marketing from her research. According to her, it’s either you go digital or you go into extinction.

Speaking on skill acquisition, the escape to unemployment, Miracle noted that the most important thing for any individual is to upskill as leadership skills and other skills are great but these skills will not land one a job in tech. Moving from an intern to a social media manager in a space of time, she was swamped on work but it payed off at the end.

Laying emphasis on Ibrahim Oredola’s opinion on concurrent multiple careers, Miracle answered the question on how to start by stating three salient points:

  • Research: “Research on the 4th industrial revolution as the future of everything is tech and the future is now”. According to her, the future of medicine is robotic medicine, the future of law is tech law; as there are technology that could accurately predict cases than judges. Data analysis, digital marketing, amidst others are also important skills in this era. It is not about how long a person has been in the field but how eager one is to learn, how open one is to task and challenges.
  • Studying emerging technologies: It is important to choose the one that resonates with one’s person, the one you can blend in by looking up courses online. Thankfully SkillNG has a lot of courses that could aid your growth and there are also free courses both online and at SkillNG.
  • Being less in a hurry: The journey is a marathon that one needs to grow with and not a Sprint. Do not be in a hurry to make a billion ?Naira now.

The first speaker, Miracle Ewim also mentioned that building a portfolio with a dummy social media account, adding links of all you do behind the scene also counts as experience, one does not need to wait to have a job before experimenting.

Concluding her session of the conference, Miracle explained that utilizing LinkedIn is key. It is important to clearly articulate one’s skills and progress especially on LinkedIn. LinkedIn should be a mirror of one’s CV.

The second speaker, Mayowa Tijani started with an article published by Theressa May in 2018 which stated that Nigeria is home to the highest number of very poor people in the world. The article further explained that Africa at the time needs to create 50,000 jobs every day to meet up with the current employment rate by 2035. Breaking it down, Mayowa explained that to maintain that rate of unemployment according to the article, it will take creating 2,500 jobs every hour. Mayowa made reference to outliers by Gladwell Malcom that in life generally, we are in places where we are a function of our experiences.

On the journey to becoming a resilient youth, you cannot allow Nigeria to train you. It is important to see the world as your canvas, your playing field, you must be able to adapt to every and any part of the world. Nigeria would definitely put on you the need to upskill but before making the decision to upskill, it is very important to find out what the future is and not the present.

The third speaker, Christianah Kayode discussed the roles of NGOs in building a resilient youth during COVID-19 and beyond. She succinctly said that when she thinks of resilience, she thinks of thriving, persistence, consistency, ability to keep pushing or re-inventing strategies based on the goals you have. According to Christianah, Advocacy, Policy formulation and training programs are roles of NGOs as they are saddled with the responsibility of filling the gap between employers and employees.

Further explaining, Christianah stated that the ability to be dedicated is what earns you the goal, being resilient is what takes you through the basis of life and the ability to solve a problem is what makes you a value adding person. She further stated that solving a problem isn’t breaking the problem into the barest minimum but making an attempt is. Also, the ability to transition with time is what makes a resilient youth.

Concluding her session, Christianah explained how one could stay trendy in terms of skills. Staying trendy involves opening your radar, the ability to be flexible, ability to unlearn and relearn. Openness to responsibility keeps you trendy, ahead of trends and of course ahead of your usual self.

The fourth and last speaker, Abolaji Omitogun categorically explained the place of International Development in skilling. A volunteer of ATLAS Corp working with an organization in Washington DC—Making Cents International—Abolaji stated that there are several development aid agencies ranked as multinationals and internationals. Non-profits, development consulting firms, think tanks and academics are also a part and all these organizations know the role and place of youths as partners in development.

One of the ways international organizations are aiding youth development is a programme by Making Cents International funded by USAID known as Youth power—Learning and Evaluation which recognizes youths inherent rights and results in youths who have assets, the ability to contribute to positive change for themselves and their communities, surrounded by an environment that enables them. International organizations support youths to achieve their full potential by making use of:

Research

Learning Network

Digital Platforms and Champions

Rapid Response Technical Support

“They do this by empowering youths as agents of change in their own local communities (localization), evidence-based programming, with technology and data. Opportunities and Current Trends are more rampant in the following sectors and these sectors are more open to funding:

• Project Management

• Health

• Education

• Agric and Rural Development

• Monitoring and Evaluation

• Environment Energy

• Technology and Connectivity.

Soft skills in the current trends includes

 Leadership Planning, Strategy and Coaching

 Empathy and Cross-cultural Sensitivity

 Problem Solving

 Flexibility and Adaptability

 Conflict Resolution

Hard skills in the current trend includes

• Data Driven, Evidence-based Programming and Delivery

• Impact Measurement and Evaluation

• Technology Integration

• Fundraising and Resources Mobilization

• Learning and Knowledge Management.

At the end of Abolaji’s session came the question and answer session. Some questions were already answered by some panelists. A question on how to position one’s self was answered by Abolaji and buttressed by Christianah. According to Abolaji Omitogun, it involves preparing and positioning yourself in the industry by volunteering and carrying out community project in order to build a track record. Christianah added that you don’t have to be a founder, it’s important to choose a niche and it’s also important to practice Advocacy. She also added that there are so many opportunities that people are not seeing.

In conclusion, a question was asked regarding Mayowa Tijani’s statistics on creating 2,500 jobs per hour to maintain the current rate of unemployment. It was asked if the problem with Government not doing enough about job creation was due to lack of enough data? Mayowa replied that it was never due to a lack of data, as the government already has enough data about youth unemployment, rather it’s a problem of will.

You can watch the conference here on our Facebook page. You can read further report on TheCable and TheNation.

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