Unemployment looms large in Nigeria, and its effects are worrisomely severe, particularly for the country’s youths. It is undeniable that the gap between the demand for and supply of skilled labour is significant. In Nigeria, there are about 25 million unemployed graduates. A large percentage are unemployable due to their inability to meet labour market demand. This ought to serve as a wake-up call for national planning in the areas of education and employment policy.
The rising unemployability crisis in Nigeria has been attributed to the country’s low quality and standards of the educational system. This has created a shortfall in the adequately skilled and educated workforce among the youth, which is identified as one of the major constraints to the country’s growth and development. Charles Nwodo, executive chairman of XL Africa Group and founder of the Knowledge Exchange Centre (KEC), has called for a pedagogical change; the reconfiguration of the curriculum and teaching methods are used in Nigeria’s universities to better equip graduates for the evolving demands of the economy and the global labour market.
KEC aims to empower youths with the necessary skills.
He said that the KEC’s Graduate Advancement Programme (GAP), now in its sixth cohort, is an initiative designed to improve the employability of young graduates in Nigeria by providing them with the knowledge and skills required to make them employable in the workforce of the future at no cost to the participants. Out of the thousands of candidates that applied from all around Nigeria, representing a wide range of academic majors and professional interests, only 102 were chosen to participate in the program.
The program is meant to equip young people with a clear roadmap and enhance their skills and all other professional qualities needed to secure a job, start their businesses, and become employers in the near future. This will help replenish the country’s talented minds, especially in the digital space. While addressing the trainees, Nwodo said the program was created in 2014 as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) vehicle of XL Africa Group effort to create a structured and sustainable model to empower young graduates with life-changing and future-focused employability skills, which would help reduce unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria.
Current government needs to enhance the development curriculum.
Nwodo claims that a significant number of Nigerians have graduated from the GAP network training offered by the KEC since the program’s inception. Those in charge of curriculum development and education planning, on the one hand, and the organized private sector and employers of labour on the other, need to work together and coordinate their efforts to meet the pressing need for regular changes to the elements of the country’s educational policies. The government, together with higher education institutions and legislators, needs to ensure that youth are equipped with the skills and knowledge required in the modern workforce.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), also lamented the high rate of unemployment among Nigerians, claiming that 40% of young people were out of work. He disclosed this at a lecture in Lagos. Nigeria’s future hinges on what it does with its vibrant young population today. It is essential for Nigeria, the region, and the rest of the world to turn this demographic advantage into a top-notch and highly skilled workforce.
Investments in youth should be prioritized for more development.
He further claims that there is a pressing need to prioritize investments in youth. This would involve, among other things, preparing young people for jobs of the future rather than jobs of the past, shifting the focus from so-called youth empowerment to youth investment, and providing young people with a voice in social and political arenas so that they can contribute to the advancement of the country; while ensuring that the government generates wealth based on the labor of young people.
Gap Network: Website