April 8, 2024

UNEMPLOYMENT: Devote budget to training youths on tech skills, govt urged

Nigerian youths

By Dickson Omobola

A tech firm, LearnWithPride Limited, has urged both state and federal governments to devote a significant portion of their budgets to training youths on technological skills that would enable them secure international gigs.

Founder of LearnWithPride, Mr Akin Oladeji, who argued that it was one of the ways by which Nigeria can reduce the unemployment gap, explained that an individual, well-skilled in technology, can get a job anywhere in the world while working from the country.

Speaking in Lagos at the organisation’s 2024 Tech Summit, with the theme: ‘Breaking Barriers of Unemployment Through Tech,’ Oladeji also urged business owners to leverage technology, noting that it is one way by which their businesses can acquire large visibility.

“Our programme focuses on youths, and what we realise is that people, irrespective of their age, think they cannot learn any new skill again. The fact is one needs to unlearn to relearn. At the mention of tech, most people think it has to do with coding, and that is why the majority say they don’t want to transition to tech.

“One of the reasons why we have this summit today is to bring awareness to people that acquiring tech skills is not about coding, it could be product management and others that don’t require any coding. After learning these skills, you won’t be focusing on your environment but other countries because the skills that you have acquired are useful all over the world. With these skills, you can be in Nigeria and apply for jobs in the UK, Malta and Ireland among others,” Oladeji explained.

On why people should invest in acquiring tech skills, he said: “It is a good investment and nothing good comes free. No matter how much you are spending, you need to spend something. You can never get quality training for free, if you really want to invest in yourself and reap the rewards later on, then you should be ready to pay for it. It is an investment that can be beneficial in a short while. People need to start looking at the bigger picture. No matter what, some amount of money has to be invested, and you need to find a quality training organisation that is ready to hold you by the hand and walk you through the process. You need to invest something to get something. Whether you are a man or woman, the only thing required in the journey is determination.”

Oladeji, Chief Executive Officer of LearnWithPride, stated that he believed that some states could do better on youth empowerment, saying if they could get more money into the sector and train as many people as possible in lucrative tech training, they could secure good jobs.

“In tech, your location doesn’t matter. As long as you can be skilled up and you can defend what you know, you can get a job remotely. If government can invest money in quality training, not just training, then people will get good jobs irrespective of the location,” he concluded.

Also speaking, Principal Consultant at Techlytics, Oluwatayo Winkunle, said the digital age has made it imperative for people to embrace tech, saying: “If people want to keep up with global skills, they necessarily need to learn the new things that are happening now.”

She identified mobile phones and the internet as some of the vital tools needed to acquire tech skills, noting: “As long as you have a phone, internet, nothing is expensive. You see a lot of people who go to YouTube, watch some videos.

“They use their time, phone and data to learn new things. Apart from learning on free platforms, there are free mentorship platforms. Transitioning to tech is not expensive, it depends on your commitment. People should kill that self-limiting belief that tech is hard. It is a matter of determination and individual ambition.”l