• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Tackling Youth unemployment: Towards a new mindset

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The misconceived Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) interviews that took place recently which led to the death of 19 persons drew condemnation from Nigerians and once again resurrected the disturbing youth unemployment situation in the country.

The direction of attack, following this tragic incident, was towards a government that is perceived to have failed in generating employment for the teeming youths of the country. But little was said about a youth population that has grown appetite not only for job seeking and paid-employment, but particularly for what is regarded as juicy jobs in the Customs, Immigration, Banks, Oil Industry, etc.

Investigations reveal that many youths, even in the face of huge innate talents, and available mentoring and support mechanisms made available through governments, local and international non-governmental organisations and even willing family members shun the path of entrepreneurship by small beginnings and rather choose the long weary road of job seeking. This disposition which is borne of the delusive perception that having gone through the four walls of a University or any Tertiary institution, one has no business with self-employment but should seek white collar jobs even when they appear non-existent or limited as in the case of NIS that had only few vacancies compared to the teeming applicants jostling for the openings.

The truth must be told that the dynamics of economies across the globe show that trends are in favour of job creators and not job seekers. And creating a job must not be in the fashion of a big entrepreneur but a small one starting off with little saved capital even from NYSC allowances and assistance from relatives or friends who are impressed with expressed determination and initiative. Beyond this, a few government initiatives are creating opportunities for youths who show interest in entrepreneurship, be it in agriculture as Lagos state is doing or in other ventures.

Every youth is endowed with bountiful creativity and strength that should not be wasted in the search of mythical goldmines. Granted that the path of entrepreneurship is laid with bumps and trenches that are intimidating in this clime, but going by the stories of those who have shared their successes with us, what is required to excel is first a new entrepreneurial mindset, un-wavering focus, determination and resilience.

As Nigeria’s leading business and financial daily, we know that wealth creation cannot be promoted sustainably in any nation without the active involvement of a resilient and dynamic entrepreneurial class. This is why we urge Tertiary institutions, Non-governmental organisations, the National Youth Service Corps, and relevant government agencies to engage in programmes that would not only open the eyes of our youths to entrepreneurial job creating opportunities, but also provide support mechanisms for them.

The youths themselves must understand that beyond the academics, they need to acquire skills that will make them relevant in the changing economic landscape. This they can do informally or formally. The times are no longer congenial for a youthful population that seeks refuge in ‘secured paid employment’ as their forebears had, but for a lot that are empowered and disposed to seize economic opportunities to create wealth.

For the teeming youths of Nigeria, the future is now. Have a rethink, and turn your focus towards job creation and save yourselves the restlessness and agony of job seeking.