By Fr. John Damian Adizie
Unemployment is not just a perennial problem; it is also a global problem. The World Employment and Social Outlook: Tren-ds 2018 declared that the total number of unem-ployed persons exceeds 192 million, and majority of them are young peo-ple. Unemployment is the greatest challenge facing the African continent. This challenge will continue as long as young people con-tinue to rely on white collar jobs.
The youths may not know that there’s a litany of opportunities and alt-ernatives in life. Skill acqui-sition is not just an altern-ative but is indeed the only solution to the peren-nial problem of unemploy-ment! With skill acquisition one can be self-employed and self-reliant. Skill acqui-sition is the best and easy way to create jobs, espec-ially for unemployed you-ths.
Considering the import-ance of skill acquisition the UN has declared July 15 as World Youth Skills Day. The aim of the celeb-ration is to encourage the youths to appreciate and consider skill acquisitions such as fashion designing, barbing, plumbing, brick-laying (and many others) as a way of achieving per-sonal success and fulfillment.
The ex-UN Secretary Gen-eral, Ban Ki-moon declar-es “Skills deve-lopment redu-ces poverty and better eq-uips young pe-ople to find decent jobs. It triggers a pro-cess of empl-oyment and self-esteem that benefits everyone.” Skill acquisition doesn’t just solve the problem of unemployment it also leads to self-actualization and healthy self-esteem.
Ever before UN declared July 15 as World Skills Day the Bible has always enc-ouraged youths to be cre-ative, skillful, fruitful and productive. For instance, the Lord told Adam, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it…” (Ge-nesis 1:28). Adam was ne-ver employed by any gov-ernment or non-govern-mental firm. He never re-ceived any salary but he survived through his natur-al skills.
Exodus 35:30-33 pres-ents skill and craft as pre-cious gifts from God: “Moses said to the people of Israel, ‘See, the Lord has called Bezalel, the son of Uri and He has filled him with the spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood in every skilled craft.” Skill acquisi-tion is indeed a special gift from God!
The New Testament pre-sents our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of a car-penter (Matthew 13:55). Jesus himself admitted that he belonged to the working class: “My Father is working still, and I am working” (John 5:17). He en-couraged his followers to be fruitful: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). A true disciple of Christ must be fruitful and skillful. And it shall be well with you in Jesus name