By Chris Onuoha
The Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Dr. Margaret Ladipo has stressed the need for youths to embrace skills acquisition in addition to white collar jobs so as to add value to their life and the society at large.
Ladipo disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 2016 World Youth Skill Day (WYSD), an initiative of UNESCO UNEVOC Network project in conjunction with Yaba College of Technology tagged “Get skilled, Get employed” held at the Yabatech Multi-purpose hall weekend.
The Rector who was represented by the Deputy Rector (Academics), Innocent Akhuemonkhan said that it was imperative for youths to develop their talents alongside an academic profession in other to reduce unemployment rate in Nigeria.
Ladipo said; “Skill is an additional training other than the main course of study in school. It can be a talent that comes naturally which needs nurturing and polishing to be able to grow as a business, and it is what you can do and offer at any given time. Skills acquisition become imperative that whether you acquire an academic or professional qualification, you need to do something even if you start it as a hobby which must be creative and innovative to add value and service to the nation.”
The Rector disclosed further that Government’s input to enhance skills in youths is just to provide an enabling environment as security, whereas the doing is eventually the youths who must look at what they can be able to offer as services acquired as skills.
“There’s need for Government, Industries and individuals to work as a consortium to give necessary support and backing needed for development of skills in youths. I believe government can come in if there’s need for them because government in itself has created so many stages of interventions which needed to be accessed with viable projects through its agencies. Some financial institutions are also there with intervention grants that can enhance skills to a profession.” Ladipo said.
According to the project coordinator, Dr. Funmi Doherty, “United Nations at its 69th session on in 2014 General Assembly expressed concern on the high number of unemployed youth, estimated globally at 74.5 million. Recognizing that fostering the acquisition of skills by youths would enhance their ability to make informed choices with regard to life and work, and empower them to gain access to changing labour markets, the UN General Assembly decided to designate July 15 as World Youth Skills Day.
“The essence is to create awareness about the need for youth to acquire necessary skills in other for them to gain employment. With the unemployment rate so high and an unprecedented gap between what the industry need and what the schools are churning out which are not really in tandem with industry needs, we tend to close those gap by using this as a platform to informing Institutions to train students in the area that they will fit into the industry.”
Highlights of this year’s WYSD event includes inspirational and empowerment talk by a life skill expert, Omolara Oni-Michael; the Chairman Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria, Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu and others, while the main focus of the day was a panel discussion session made up of professionals – foremost comedian Ali-Baba, the Executive Director of Foccus Concept, Folashade Ajayi, a professional MC and Television host, Oyeniyi Oluwashogo popularly known as Dr. Shogo’; founder of jobberman.com, Opeyemi Awoniyi and an Accountant turned photographer, Shola Animashaun.
They spoke on their experiences and how unemployment issues and skills acquisition can be solved.