BusinessDay

Here are 3 key employability skills fresh graduates must have

Critical thinking, proper communication skills and structural problem solving have been identified by experts as fundamental employability skills that fresh graduates need to have in order to succeed in the workplace.

These nuggets were revealed at the launch of EnterpriseNGR’s Youth of Enterprise (YOE) internship programme on Thursday. The programme which aims to reach 5,000 young graduates annually seeks to improve their skillsets, professional competence and employability.

“These basic skills will prepare them for the performance in the workplace. Employers need to ensure that young people are equipped with these skills as they are coming into the workplace regardless of their areas in any industry,” Juliet Amammah, chief sustainability officer at Jumia Group/ chairperson at Jumia Nigeria said.

Amammah further said that they should also package the skills and overlay them with the specific technical knowledge into the area, functional or industry sector where the person is going too.

Obi Ibekwe, the chief executive officer of EnterpriseNGR commenting in the same vein noted that the current school curriculum does not emphasise these skills and yet these are the same skills employers look for in prospective employees.

“YOE will provide our participants with robust training in employability skills using a rich curriculum designed and enabled by PwC, our partners, thus bridging the skills gap and positioning our young people for success in the workplace,” Ibekwe said.

Read also: The Special Foundation launched to educate, upskill, Nigerian youth

Africa’s biggest economy is blessed with a large, young and vibrant population (15-35) which comprise about 65percent of its total population. But this growth potential is yet to be harnessed for the growth and development of the country largely due to lack of employability skills and job opportunities.

According to the National Bureau of statistics (NBS), Nigeria has an all time high youth unemployment rate of 42percent. Also, a 2020 National youth survey by the NBS shows that only 45.1 percent of Nigerian youths have knowledge or skills of word processing.

This means that the remaining 55percent of them who do not have the knowledge of word processing are yet to understand the relevance of technology in the digital 21st century, making them unemployable in the job market.

“While jobs are very hard to come by, the employability skills is also an issue for them,” Abba Bello, the chief executive officer at Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) said.

“Anybody who has conducted interviews in their organisations for the past decade will see that there is a dent of skills and capacity which starts as far back as basic education which is the problem,” he noted.

Bello recommends that there is a need to expand the long term preparation of the people that come out from the universities into the workplace.

“We need to start building back from basic to secondary and tertiary education to prepare them for the kind of skills that are required in the workplace.”

Likewise, Aigboje AIG-Imoukhuede, the chairman at EnterpriseNGR said internship is a good pathway for fresh graduates to reinvent themselves and be work ready.

“It is our firm belief that all Nigerian youth deserve an opportunity to build rewarding careers and internships are a good pathway to setting them on course to achieve this.”

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