By Emma Okonji

The  Managing Director, Poise Graduate Finishing Academy,  (PGFA), Mr. Asher Adeniyi has urged Nigerian youths to key into Career KickStart, a  programme designed to help  disadvantaged youths become competitively employable within the job market.

Citing the added hurdles that disadvantaged youths face in the labour market, he said innovative solutions have to be directed to improving access to quality education and job opportunities.

The solutions, according to him, will improve the employability skills, ICT skills of participants and expose them to internships and permanent job placements.

Adeniyi said the beneficiaries of the career kickstart training have been both university graduates who lack employable skills and cannot sponsor themselves financially for the employability training.

“Our experience is that these disadvantaged youths lack experience in the formal job market; and face several self and social discrimination on the basis of gender, disability, race or ethnicity amongst others; and are often geographically isolated with poor access to quality education and job opportunities,” Adeniyi said.

The Career KickStart programme, he explained,  is embedded with the responsibility of bridging the gap between the knowledge gained from the formal educational sector and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to function effectively in today’s global work environment.

According to Adeniyi, “Between 2016 and 2017, 528 unemployed graduates in Lagos and Edo State, were sponsored by OXFAM, and were trained under the Career KickStart programme. Over 50 per cent have gained employment while others are currently been connected with several job opportunities.

“The Career Kickstart programme is a three week intensive employability training programme. Candidates are selected from application from underprivileged backgrounds and rural areas in Nigeria after intensive interview sessions to attain the level of intelligence and determination of the individual to further his or her career.”

Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of Poise Nigeria, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, said through the initiative, disadvantaged youths in Nigeria have been sponsored and trained with the backing of OXFAM and Work-In-Progress Alliance for over two years, with plans to train more youths.

She further stated that many young people face difficulties in finding jobs because of the mismatch between their education/training and labour market requirements. Innovation, technology and market developments have turned the world of work into a fast-changing environment.

“There is a need to equip a growing young workforce with skills required for the jobs of the future, not to mention re-equipping the current workforce with the skills required to keep up with a changing world. This workforce however must not be limited to the advantaged youth but the disadvantaged who find themselves in an unfavorable work situation as a result of unfriendly economic factors,” Dare said.