FUCAP Seminar: Unilever Partners UNICEF to Bridge Skills Gap for Youths by 2026

Funmi Ogundare

Unilever Nigeria PLC is partnering with UNICEF to equip 700,000 youths with essential skills to succeed in the future workplace by 2026.

Speaking at the Future Unilever Campus Ambassador Programme (FUCAP) seminar held recently at the University of Lagos, Bharat Kundra, Programme Specialist at UNICEF Nigeria explained that the objective is to expose youths to 21st-century skills to transform society and establish themselves as professionals. These skills include communication, collaboration, critical thinking, digital and financial literacy, and resilience.

Kundra emphasised the extensive global research and government collaborations to ensure youths acquire these essential skills for a secure future. He noted that regardless of future challenges like technological changes, climate issues, or pandemics, young people with 21st-century skills will thrive as successful professionals and entrepreneurs.

Describing the global partnership between UNICEF and Unilever, Kundra highlighted that Nigeria is the first country to benefit from this initiative. The programme focuses on four key areas: career seminars, entrepreneurship courses, work experience, and youth challenges.

“We aim to connect 700,000 young people in Nigeria to meaningful opportunities by 2026, and we have already established strong connections with universities to facilitate their transition into the workplace,” Kundra stated.

He encouraged youths to be optimistic and proactive, leveraging the skills learned from such seminars to share ideas and lessons with a broader audience.

Kundra acknowledged challenges such as access to devices and the internet but noted that UNICEF works with trained volunteers to mentor others in acquiring these skills.

“The goal is to mentor 20 million youths by 2026, ensuring that FUCAP participants can meaningfully utilise their skills to build their careers and mentor others,” he stated.

Zainab Ajadi, People Partner at Unilever Nigeria and Lead Project Coordinator of the FUCAP seminar, stressed the importance of youths acquiring critical skills to thrive in the workplace and be self-sustaining.

“Through our entrepreneurship concept, we aim to groom future entrepreneurs and employers who are willing to take risks to grow their businesses,” she explained.

Ajadi noted that the partnership with UNICEF aims to create awareness about these opportunities, equipping youths for the future and enabling them to lead purposeful lives. She mentioned that one of the challenges faced is changing youths’ mindsets and helping them envision the future so they can adapt accordingly.

In her remarks, Prof. Ayodele Victoria Atsenuwa, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services) at the University of Lagos, stated that the institution, through its entrepreneurship programmes, is developing opportunities and preparing students to have an edge in the workplace upon graduation.

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