The rate of unemployment in Nigeria in 2010 was estimated to be 21.1% by Premium times. In 2021, it had increased to 35% according to Agusto & Co. When asked what the problem was, it was said that there are not enough jobs for the entire labour force. In a bid to reduce the unemployment rate and make do with what is on ground, the unemployed take up jobs lower than his/her qualification. Some settle for business dealings; sole proprietorship. In recent times, more entrepreneurs have sprung up.
However, it can not be said that the issue is a thing of the past as unemployment still ravages the country. This time, when asked what the reason is, it is said that though the jobs aren’t enough, the ones available have outrageous requirements. These requirements include high academic qualifications, skills and years of experience. It is said that with these requirements, fewer people meet the criteria.
Due to the surging increase of graduates and qualified candidates, employers now require job seekers to have certain skills. Since work is practical, employing organisations request to know what skills are possessed, either acquired or sharpened. These skills could be communication, time management or even interrelationship.
In Nigeria, where the education sector is plagued with incessant strikes and the absence of learning equipment, these job requirements become unfair and outrageous. Some organisations have an age cap of < 27years with a minimum of 3-5 years experience. Also, many institutions have little or no learning equipment. For example, many computer science students graduate without being trained with computers. Based on these few reasons, many graduates are disqualified.
Being a student in a university shouldn’t hinder one’s need to gain experience. There are roles that can be gotten within the school; faculty, department or school in general. There is also the option of applying for ambassadorial roles, campus directors, where one gets to serve as the go-to person for an organisation, to other students or interested persons in the university.
One can also decide to go beyond the walls of the university by writing application letters for short internship programs in places within a reasonable distance from the school. Consideration can also be given to merely helping out with some duties relating to one’s field in an organisation. These organisations can either employ based on an existing skill, personal values or simply on the account of a network connection. Whichever way, the primary aim is to get the experience.
To be employable, a person could apply for a remote internship which involves online work as all that will be needed is a virtual presence and nothing more. This is to help in being at school at the same time, as “being at work”. Things are going digital real quick and tech is the new king. There is the need to now acquire some technical skills as organisations now add to their requirements as well.
In all areas that experience can be gained as a student, it is usually encouraging to tap into it. While acquiring these skills or certificates, a person is able to build his/her portfolio. The essence of this is that while working towards bagging a degree, the experience that is usually required should be acquired.
It is said, time waits for no one; if you have a stone, use it to kill two birds. In our present reality, it is unwise to focus only on acquiring a degree. Employers are shifting away from just ‘university certificates”. Now, certificates alone don’t secure jobs. Skills and talents can also get the much desired and coveted positions.
YUSUF, Fathia Abolore