By Gabriel Olawale
In line with its commitment to support universities across the country in preparing students for the 21st century work environment, Stanforte Edge Ltd/Gte has concluded plans to setup a Career and Employability Hub at the University of Ilorin, in commemoration of the 2019 International Youth Day.
The initiative was in partnership with the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) directorate, Unilorin and the United Nations acknowledged Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development, Ilorin (RCE Ilorin).
Speaking on the importance of having Career and Employability Hub at Higher institutions, an alumnus of the University and Executive Director of Stanforte Edge, Olusola Owonikoko said: “students will be better positioned for decent job opportunities if provided with career planning support while in school. Hence, the hub will be strategically positioned, in the Directorate of SIWES -University of Ilorin, to provide advice, information, workshops, events and work experience opportunities for students at all levels in the institution.”
Available statistics reveals that youth unemployment in Nigeria is growing at an alarming rate of 33.1 percent. Worst still, the labour market in Nigeria is characterized by a significant mismatch between skills demanded by employers and those possessed by these young university graduates, a factor that contributes significantly to an increase in youth unemployment rates.
Owonikoko noted that the primary objective of the hub is to bridge the gap between academic qualifications and industry requirements by positioning students at the institution for the 21st century workplace. Ultimately, the project seeks to make graduates of the university of Ilorin recruiters’ best choice.
He explained that the lack of market-relevant skills, often referred to as ‘Unemployability’ is notably a major barrier to employment in the 21st century workplace, and would even be more of a concern in the future of work.
He said Stanforte Edge intends to bridge this gap with the Career and Employability Hub project. “The program has been designed to help young people in tertiary institutions, starting with the University of Ilorin as the pilot, to get the best of school experience and be fully equipped for the future of work and proper positioning in their chosen career.”
Stanforte Edge will be working with the SIWES directorate, Unilorin, and Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development, RCE Ilorin to implement and run the program, leveraging on various partnerships towards making graduates of the school employers’ best choice.
Among other things, the project is expected to increase the access of young University of Ilorin undergraduates to information, resources and support mechanisms targeted at preparing them for the workplace upon the completion of their university programme.
In his own reaction, Focal Person, RCE Ilorin, Prof Albert B. Olayemi, who expressed appreciation over the project, said it’s very much in line with the mandate at the RCE.
“We are happy to partner with Stanforte Edge to promote quality education and decent employment opportunities for university students,” he added.
According to the Director of SIWES, Dr. Wasiu O. Raji, SIWES has been repositioned to offer better Employability services to Unilorin students. Dr. Raji added that every Unilorin student would have one year relevant work experience (through cumulative long vacation industry attachment/job placement) and an industry mentor before graduation. The mentorship Program recently introduced by SIWES office affords every student, regardless of discipline, to have opportunity to understudy the operations of a company through a professional mentor in that industry.
With the new partnership with Stanforte Edge, Unilorin students and graduates are to expect better career and Employability services from Industrial Training/ internship to full- time job opportunities, CV review, Mock interview, career development and business start up.
The Employability Workshop and CV Clinic organised by SIWES Directorate featured Mr. Olushola Owoniloko, the CEO of Stanforte Edge as one of the trainers and guest speakers, and it marked the beginning of the partnership between Stanforte Edge and Unilorin SIWES Directorate. At the workshop, Mr. Owoniloko gave prizes to outstanding students.
Stanforte Edge Ltd/Gte is a development organisation that works with multi-sector stakeholders to promote development outcomes for the undeserved.