Church Hones Graduates’ Skills, Provides Job Opportunities

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Funmi Ogundare

The Young Catholic Professionals (YCP), St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Isolo chapter recently held a business summit/job fair, designed for unemployed graduates to connect with employers of labour and to assist the underemployed, entrepreneurs and business persons to enhance their standard of living.

The programme with the theme, ‘The Youth as Driving Force for National Economic Growth’, saw speaker after speaker enlighten participants on how they could key into opportunities provided for them by different corporate organisations to enhance their careers.

One of the conveners of the programme and a member of YCP, Mr. Brenda Apata, said the programme has the objective of ensuring that organisations avail the graduates of information and opportunities about how to secure employment, ensure and equip themselves with the needed skills for the labour market.

“Information is very key in our world today; a lot of these organisations are providing information to these groups of people, as well as carrying out instant recruitments in their areas of expertise.”

He said it is imperative for Nigerian graduates to learn to start small and learn the ropes in their chosen careers, rather than thinking of getting rich quick.

Reacting to the notion that Nigerian graduates are not employable, Apata said: “Nigerian graduates are wonderful people. All we need to do is for them to have the opportunity to be properly groomed and when we have a lot of these organisations that are seen as mentors making themselves more available in this kind of gathering to make information readily available, then it will bring out the best in them.

“That is the more reason you find out that when our graduates leave the shores of Nigeria and find themselves in a conducive environment with opportunities to be mentored, they tend to excel more. So our graduates are employable, they only need to be better mentored.”

The President of Universal Learn Direct Academia and former Executive Secretary of Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Chief Olawunmi Gasper enjoined the youths to learn foreign languages such as French and Portuguese, apart from equipping themselves with skills needed by employers. This he said would be an added advantage if they find themselves outside Nigeria.

“There is need for graduates to have the needed skill set and international certification because employers of labour want to see their portfolio and what they have done so far, especially for countries that want skilled workers.”

One of the speakers, Mr. Emmanuel Michael highlighted the steps graduates could take in positioning themselves for a job to include having problem-solving skills which the target market needs; having a career relationship with job recruiters; identifying the kind of people to connect with; and volunteering their time to share knowledge in organisations so that they can be recommended.

“You need to build strategies and connect with someone that is connected to your targets. Volunteering your skills in organisations so that they can recommend you is key. When you share your knowledge, people will begin to pay attention to you,” he said.