The Operations Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Mr. Pedro Omontuemhen, has called on government and educators to open up spaces to involve youth opinion and expand the relevance of a degree for youths to better support their learning experience, with more structured learning and development paths.
Omontuemhen, who made this known recently during the official launch of ‘Get Ready Set’ initiative in Lagos, said students and employers will need to be more proactive in engaging with decision makers to influence decisions and supporting initiatives to improve the situation.
“We have long held that to tackle youth unemployment effectively, we must reform our approach to education. Universities need to reform themselves into a place where young people can not only study and take exams, but learn from doing. Educational institutions must provide youths with real world experiences that are relevant, integrate practical skills with theoretical knowledge and foster an entrepreneurial learning environment.”
He said his organisation will support the initiative financially and train volunteers. “At PwC, we hold strongly that work experience or short term temporary roles can be valuable not only for skills development but to help young people plan their career while introducing them to the world of work.”
The Commissioner of Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, described the initiative as a welcome development, saying that it is a redefinition of the government’s role on sustainable youth employment that has reached a critical level.
He thanked the partners who have supported the initiative, saying, “there is no shortcut to success, it is hard work and trying to identify your capability and leveraging on opportunity to identifying skill sets.
“This administration has reinforced the federal government’s support when it comes to providing opportunity for the youths, it is important that it is part of the campaign promise and that was why the ministry is set to address this problem.”
He expressed concern that there is a big disconnect in skills education and that graduates do not have technical and professional skills that will make them employable, adding that what the youths should be able to take away is how they are able to explore the opportunities in a competitive environment.
The Deputy Director, Higher Education, Mrs. Justina Adedokun, enjoined the youths to take the initiative seriously by using it to better their live. “Do what you are expected to do forge ahead in life.”
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Fela Bank-Olemoh expressed concern that there are not enough jobs being created to absorb the supply of labour and that graduates are rated poorly on employability scale, hence the need for initiative.
He said the programme would run for 13 weeks in three modules, adding, “it is going to be a life changing opportunity for students that get into the organisations. I believe that Nigerian students have the mindset to excel wherever they find themselves.”