by Ibifubara Goodluck Pa-Briggs
Nigerian graduates in the last two decades have gone through the university system with the mentality of becoming job seekers when they enter the labour market instead of employers of labour. This, in no small
part is due to the lack of infusion of enterpreneurial development in the curriculum of tertiary education.
So many employers of labour see Nigerian graduates as unemployable when compared with their foreign counterparts. They believe that the quality and focus of the training offered by universities were not in tune with the needs of society and that has added to the high rate of unemployment. They also site the perceived lack of skills required by employers of labour as a reason. These skills are required to function in the jobs in which they find themselves in. Some of these skills include interpersonal skills such as customer satisfaction and client expectation, efficient time management, responsibility etc, critical thinking skills, presentation skills, numeracy and IT skills to mention but a few. This situation has led to a very high percentage of unemployed graduates in the labour market.
Now, the question is; what is the way forward? How do we curb this ugly and unwanted trend and make our graduates employable in the eyes of employers? There are several steps to be taken to prevent the continuation of this trend.
Firstly, the curriculum of tertiary education should focus on the development of enterprises that will rapidly grow the Nigerian economy. Sectors such as agriculture that has vast potentials to contribute greatly to the nation’s GDP but its still hugely under-utilized due to lack of interest from the youths and failure of stakeholders to create proper awareness on the benefits that awaits investors and participants.
Such a sector can be focused on as it has the potential to employ large chunk of the labour force.
Also, employers should create awareness to enlighten graduates on the skills that are required for employability and also set up entrepreneurial schools that can help to develop and nurture such skills in graduates.
The training of young graduates to be employers of labour instead of job seekers. If youths viewed education as a veritable tool for self employment, then the level of unemployability would drastically reduce. This can be enhanced through large exposure of graduates to the benefits of enterpreneurship.
Finally, the government should encourage young entrepreneurs starting up businesses or ventures with incentives such as loans, tax breaks etc to keep them competitive and interested. This would go a long way in making others see the benefits and this would be a big boost to the economy of the country.
Thank you and God bless Nigeria!!!
Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.