• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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EGO Foundation equip students with employability skills


EGO Foundation, a development organization focused on reducing poverty and unemployment in Africa trained about 470 Nigerian students on skills to access job opportunities.

During the event held in Lagos recently, Toluwase Olaniyan, the executive director, EGO foundation emphasised the need for undergraduates and graduates building soft skills for opportunities in the labour market.

On what schools can do to bridge the gap between undergraduates and their chances of employability in the workforce, Olaniyan said schools should set up career centers to help students get professional career services before graduation.

He said, “Schools should set up systems like career centers, sort of helping students get professional career services before they get into the open market. I also think schools should endeavour to bring in industry experts and business leaders to come into schools and begin to infuse the labour market into the academic system.”

Olaniyan also noted a few of the skills students need to prepare themselves with including: critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, negotiation, and interpersonal relationships.

“One thing they need to do to position themselves for employment opportunities is by learning and mastering these skills to be prepared,” the convener said.

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In her remarks, Catherine Ibrahim, a human capital professional, spoke on the need for students to embrace mentorship and internships as they prepare to get into the workforce.

Ibrahim called for caution for entry-level positions, stating that at that level, the focus should not be on financial remuneration but on gaining exposure and experience on the job as well as building relationships.

“The importance of mentorship cannot be overemphasised. The knowledge they gain in school is simply not enough and largely not practical, and so you get this practical experience through internship opportunities by working with these organisations and gaining the skillset that is actually required in the workforce, which you might not be opposed to while in school.

“Mentors are there to guide you. They do research on people that have been able to achieve what you want to achieve, or surpass, and those mentors guide you, so you don’t learn from your own experience but from the experience of others, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes they made, and they are ready to guide you so you can do better than them.”

On priorities for entry-level positions, she said, “Focus more on learning, gaining experience, and being adaptable. I am still taking courses, venturing into new waters to remain relevant. You also need to keep grooming yourself to get to the top. At the entry level, what you earn should not be the priority, but what you can learn and who and what you are exposed to.”