• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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How RCCG’s N400m initiative aims to bridge 35% Nigerian youths’ unemployment gap

Youths play important roles in driving economic growth and development through various means. They can establish businesses, create employment opportunities, introduce innovative products or services, and participate in social entrepreneurship. Similarly, they can raise awareness about critical issues such as sustainability, poverty alleviation, and financial inclusion.

However, a significant portion of Nigeria’s youths face employment challenges. According to the Federal Ministry of Youth Development (FMYSD) 2022 report, 35 per cent of Nigerians aged 15 to 34 are unemployed, actively seeking work, or working fewer than 20 hours per week. Furthermore, 28% of young people in the workforce are underemployed, working between 20 and 39 hours per week.

In an innovative effort to address the high unemployment rate among Nigerian youth, The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has trained over 1,000 young Nigerians in essential digital skills, including data analysis and cybersecurity. This initiative forms part of a comprehensive strategy to bridge the employment gap and equip the younger generation with the tools necessary to succeed in the digital economy.

Tackling unemployment with digital skills

In an innovative move to tackle the high unemployment rate among Nigerian youth, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) trained over 1,000 young Nigerians in digital skills, including data analysis and cybersecurity. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to bridge the employment gap and equip the younger generation with tools to thrive in the digital economy.

Recognizing the urgent need for intervention, the RCCG launched its “Continent 3 Digital Transformation Drive,” themed “A World of Unlimited Possibilities,” in celebration of Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s 82nd birthday.

“This is the first of its kind in Africa, aiming to alleviate poverty through the ripple effect of digital knowledge,” said Oluwagbemileke Adeboye, Personal Assistant and Son of the General Overseer. “We began with 12,000 applicants; over 5,000 took the online test, and we ultimately selected 1,000 for the physical boot camp.”

A future investment

The seven-day boot camp, valued at over N400 million, aimed to prepare participants aged 15 to 45 for the future of work. Adeboye explained the financial significance, noting that the average cost per participant would have been N400,000, but the church managed to subsidize this cost.

“Our agenda is to help the average Nigerian youth understand what will count in the future of work and how to equip themselves to succeed,” he said. “We hope that within nine months, participants will establish their own businesses, contributing to the economy and helping to alleviate poverty across Nigeria.”

Broader Impact on society

Speaking at the grand finale of the bootcamp, Fatai Williams, CEO of Africa Mission Global, noted the initiative’s broader societal impact. “This initiative will be extremely impactful for the youth, reaching a larger number of people in society,” she said. When you equip young people with digital knowledge, they can fit into any sector based on their digital skills.”

Also, Funso Odesola, National Secretary and Assistant General Overseer in charge of Personnel and Administration for RCCG, stressed the importance of such forward-thinking educational programs. “The present education system doesn’t connect with the reality of the future, which is in the digital space. Our curriculums rarely address current and future problems,” he explained.

Empowering youths beyond borders

The training was open to all youths, regardless of religion or location. Participants included youths from Nigeria, the Middle East, Cyprus, and Turkey. To facilitate this broad reach, the RCCG created additional centres across Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, and Kwara states.

Personal success stories

Participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity. Oluwakemi Olubodun, who took a data analysis course, told BD Weekender, “As an analyst, you have to be creative and have problem-solving skills. This boot camp has done that and more for me.”

Anuoluwaokitan Ajayi, a cybersecurity trainee, said, “It’s been an amazing week. I learned not only technical skills but also how to excel in job interviews and network with professionals in my field.”

Damilola Davis, who focused on Cloud Computing, added, “I intentionally wanted to develop myself in the virtual space. This boot camp has increased my quest for knowledge and equipped me to secure applications and web servers.”

This initiative by the RCCG highlights the critical role of digital education in addressing youth unemployment and fostering economic growth in Nigeria. As Pastor Oluwagbemileke aptly put it, “This is just the beginning. We need continuity for these youths to provide feedback and fully understand the concepts, as re-engineering one’s mind for success takes time.”

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