The growth rate of unemployed youth is exponential annually. It is said that 60% of Nigeria’s population is comprised of its youths and 80% of them are unemployed. Many questions have been asked. Questions of ‘What could be its cause?’, ‘Why has it not been addressed?’ ‘Who is to blame?’ etc. A lot has also been said about the credibility and employability of these youths. For these reasons I took a time out with a couple of them to share their experiences in their quest to be gainfully employed, and here was what I got ;
The “Two Tales”
Coming up first is Bola, an unemployed youth in his late-30’s.He said his pursuit for job has been a case of chasing shadows. In his own words, “It seems there are no jobs available or the job seekers have outnumbered the few ones available. The last application I sought saw my entry to be the 7009th. Technically, I knew I was out because the available space was for 80 applicants’’.
Tade, a 34-year old unemployed for the past six years. In his own words, “my belief, during the struggle days of undergraduate was the there will be ease after graduation. A good job, nice house beautiful family and a happy ending thereafter was all I pictured in my memory. But as destiny would have it, I am still here unemployed after six long years of graduation. It is so disheartening but I have accepted my fate and move on with life.” When asked if he had tried out some companies for possible vacancies, he said “Of course I have and even can’t recall how many now. They all tell me to look out if I was shortlisted, one which was always futile”. He has however been coping with the struggle of life through the support of his family. He admitted that he was also a contributor to his situation due to his lack of the requisite skill to be self-employed. His advice for the teaming youth out there like him was “Go get a skill to be self-reliant. There are no Jobs out there waiting for you. But if you have got the skills, you need not wait for six years like me before you start acting.”
It can be inferred from the above tales that, indeed there are no jobs out there. It is up to us to start thinking of ways of creating jobs. I know you might be wondering if the writer is in his write state of mind. But come to think of it, the one thousand five hundred naira you spend on your monthly data plan is enough to start a business venture. If you are waiting for the five million naira that will kick start your business on a large scale, am afraid you might be ready to wait forever.
Take for instance, during the nine months strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) in 2013, I had a sister who was skilled in the art of fabrics and design. The “holiday” gave her a sort of employment as she spent the period getting contracts and delivering them on time. By the time the strike ended and she returned to school, her customers wouldn’t stop calling her for business. This is a skill that fetched her valuable income even as an undergraduate. So you may ask, “Why is she wasting her time in school?” The reason is this, what distinguishes her from other ‘common’ fabric designer is her educational background which is an added advantage. She is more urban and will reflect in her work.
Now come to think of it, if two of every three undergraduate has a skill our problem of unemployment has just been sent to the sea. But it is rather, unfortunate that we all want to work in an air conditioned office dressed in well-tailored Suite and a bumper salary.
Moreover, you think it is a must you work in your field of study before you succeed? NO! You needn’t. Prominent Billionaires of the world did not make their money from their field of study or area of specialization. As a matter of fact some didn’t get the opportunity to attend a tertiary institute of learning let, alone bag a degree. But today, they are the “crème de la crème “of the world at large. This is because they defied all odds to achieve, even when they were obstructed they forged ahead in their quest and they are what we say they are today.
“Heaven help those who help themselves” they say. That is to say that you will only be helped after you must have helped yourself. It is high time the Nigerian youths start looking beyond the white (turn Brown) collar jobs. It is not as if there are no jobs, but the skills required of the job seekers are lacking, hence, the exponential growth in the population of the unemployed. If we are to occupy our rightful position as future leaders, then our sense of creativity and responsibility has to broaden.