… Urge Govt to support their Enterprises
As part of the plan to celebrate the July 15, International Youth Skills Day, IYSD, Fides took the streets of Awka, the capital city of Anambra State, to engage youths in skill acquisition and entrepreneural development dialogue in a bid to encourage and promote self-employment, report Mercy Hill, Alexander Johnson Adejoh and Precious Ukeje.
In Nigeria, youth and graduate unemployment is a serious problem. This, in recent times, has caused the greatest source of frustration for the individual affected and is also an issue of national concern.
The reality of the Nigerian labour market is that there is a dearth of wage employment opportunities for graduates. This is despite the relative downturn in economic growth owing to the hardship occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic which left many youths jobless and also forced companies to shut down.
Fides discovered that skill, often known as talent, is the capacity to do something well in a particular profession. Skills are usually acquired or learned, as opposed to abilities, which are often thought of as innate while entrepreneurship is termed the art or science of innovation and risk-taking for profit in business.
Mrs Gloria Uzohuo, a Computer Science graduate from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, who is currently a beautician, challenged the youths to be highly skillful in order to solve the problem of unemployment, security and youth restiveness in Nigeria, adding that the era of certificate flaunting was gone.
Uzohuo who is fully into weave-on making, and head tie, popularly known as ‘Gele’, disclosed that upon graduation she attempted getting a white collar job but later concluded on becoming her own boss.
She said, ‘Even the Bible said the gift of a man will make room for him. Skills are necessary, it only requires personal qualities such as taking risks and responsibilities, leadership and ethics of business management, as well as time management and communicating skills.
‘Young people should change their mentality, and imbibe the habit of working hard. They should be honest and straightforward. The growth to success is simpler than you think; it only takes determination.
‘Committing crime to make success and using the fast lane is futile; you will lose everything in a short time,’ she said, while however calling on the state government through the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Professor Theresa Nkechi Obiekezie, to support and encourage youth entrepreneurs.
She said that youths were faced by a number of challenges in starting up their businesses.
For her part Elizabeth Bassey, Chief Executive Officer, L-ACE PRO Make up, a graduate of international studies from Akwa Ibom University, Uyo, who is currently serving in Anambra State, told Fides that the pandemic was an eye opener and that there was a need to re-double efforts in turning out graduates with self-sustaining, globally competitive skills and talents for the realization of national goals of building a free, democratic, just and egalitarian society; as well as a united, strong and self-reliant nation.
‘What gives me pride in life is that I am very skillful at my age. I can do several things. I can do professional make up, I know photography and film making, I am into event planning, and other things, and it makes me proud about myself. I have received several honours for my contribution to humanity, currently I am running a two-week intensive training to empower and train youths like myself in professional make up,’ Bassey said.
When asked on her challenges, she said, ‘I never saw challenges; I only saw opportunities. Everything that looked like obstacles turned out to be the ladder which I climbed to get to this stage of my life. You see, the problem with youths is that we want it the easy way; we want to make it just at once. Success is a process, and being consistent in what you do, you are sure to excel. When you begin humbly and you are hardworking, people will patronize you, and that is where success begins,’ she said.
Fides later spoke with David Uchenna, who introduced himself as a fashion designer whose vision, according to him, was to empower other youths in Awka and beyond.
Narrating his greatest achivement, Uchenna, who is a father of two, disclosed that he was happy anytime he saw his customers looking good on his designs, adding that his biggest victory in life was youth empowerment.
‘I have ten boys working under me and I can confidently tell you that in my absence, they deliver the job perfectly. They have proven to be exceptionally skillful in the world of fashion design,’ he said.
Adding her voice, Chioma Nnagbo, CEO, Chommylious Cakes and Pastries, also advised Nigerian youths to take advantage of the pandemic and learn skills online.
She also urged to government to encourage the youths by supporting them with necessary funds and equipment for wealth creation.
Others who spoke to Fides were Prince Joseph Ekwunife, CEO ZAGATECH; Mr Egbewuike Celestine, popularly known as Bukado-Mario a Nollywood Actor, Film maker, on air personality, (OAP), Disc Jockey (DJ) and master of ceremony (MC); and Pascal Ikenna, a painter, as well as Amarachi Okpunobi.