In addition to the Nigerian government’s purposeful interventions towards addressing youths unemployment rate, a novel initiative has been organized by His Majesty, King Charles III of England to help close the skills gap and increase the number of job opportunities available to Nigerian youths. This information was shared on Tuesday during the Prince’s Trust International (PTI) Lagos edition of the 2023 annual Job Fair tagged “Get Hired”, which was organized in conjunction with the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and the Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD). According to PTI CEO Mr. Will Straw, the lack of available jobs is a challenge across the world, not just in Nigeria.
Mr. Straw observed that many young Nigerians do not hold the necessary skills, jobs, and experience to excel in the labour market of today. While over 10 million Nigerian children are not in school, many more drop out to work; even among those who do graduate, many lack the skills necessary to find gainful employment. Given that Nigerian youths in search of employment are more than formal vacancies available, the majority needs to turn to the country’s thriving informal economy, which accounts for more than half of GDP.
Local partners, PTI runs initiatives to help youths obtain lucrative jobs.
Employers have high standards for entry-level candidates, making it difficult for young people to acquire job experience. Yet, without a job, it’s impossible to gain relevant work experience. Straw said that the PTI aims to address these issues by implementing schemes that will provide youth with skills. He explained that His Majesty King Charles III established the PTI to address the worldwide issue of youth unemployment and that it now runs the programme in 23 countries.
He said that the PTI, in conjunction with local partners, runs initiatives to help young people obtain lucrative jobs and establish successful enterprises. It also seeks to provide an avenue where young people can learn the social and professional skills necessary to become productive members of society and secure gainful employment. Straw said that the PTI was collaborating with the private sector to find employment for young people, and that 96% of those who engaged in PTI initiatives secured employment within three months.
Investing in youths is of value and scalable for development.
Moreover, Straw added that supporting tens of thousands of young people in Nigeria directly, and their families and communities indirectly, is a top priority, with the hope that this will have a profound impact on the lives of everyone involved. Ms. Arunma Oteh, Trustee of the PTI and former Vice President of the World Bank, said with 60% of Nigeria’s population being youths, investing in youths is of value and scalable for development. Ms. Oteh, a former Director-General of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission expressed enthusiasm about the opportunities the project presents for Nigerian youths, their future employers, and Nigeria as a whole.
She praised Nigerian youth, describing them as “hardworking, creative, and resilient,” and asserting that the PTI’s debut to the country would spur more transformation and progress. The Director-General of NECA, Mr. Oyerinde Adewale-Smatt, also remarked that the country’s unemployment rate was a major concern, with projections indicating that it would reach 40% by 2023. Adewale-Smatt emphasized the importance of the collaboration in helping to reduce unemployment, close skill gaps, and increase job opportunities across Africa. Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde, Founder of FSD, echoed her view, noting that many employers are interested not just in certificates but in skills that would contribute to the growth and success of the company.
PTI fits in with government initiatives to address unemployment.
Mrs. Ogunrinde revealed that only 120 were chosen to move further in the hiring process with the 30 participating companies at the job fair, out of 3,891 people that applied. Ms. Kachollom Daju, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment stressed that the government had taken many measures, such as improving skills centers and implementing the National Development Plan, to reduce youth unemployment. She further praised the Fair’s organizers and avers that it fits in with government initiatives to address unemployment, lower poverty, and boost development.