BusinessDay

iCreate entrepreneur Bright Jaja gets recognition for tackling Nigeria’s unemployment

Bright Jaja, chief operating officer and founder of ICreate Africa has received recognition for his role in reducing Nigeria’s high youth unemployment rate.

Through his annual skills competition, Bright established a platform that identifies creative youths and empowers them with the relevant entrepreneurial skills; mentorship and finance to kick start their businesses.

Jaja, who was recently featured on CNN for his stride in reducing unemployment, said a spike in technical and vocational skills among the youth workforce will stealthily solve Nigeria’s endless unemployment crisis.

“The goal is to get more young people in Africa to embrace technical and vocational skills without being afraid of the stereotype” he told CNN.

Jaja, who created iCreate Africa, in 2017, in South Africa, has successfully trained over 20,000 young people in vocational and technical skills. With his expansion to Nigeria, he targets training over five million young people across the continent.

“We identify experts and match them with aspirants who basically enroll in an apprenticeship for about 3 months to one year. Some of the trades we focus on are carpentry, graphic design, web design, and basically everything technical and vocational.”

Jaja’s expansion to Nigeria is heralded by an annual vocational and technical skills event dubbed, iCreate Skills Fest, which is to inspire and empower young people in this technology sector.

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“I started a competition annually called iCreate Skills Fest to help change perception among youths on vocational and technical skills. We bring technicians and craftsmen together to showcase their skills in a contest, all to encourage youths to embrace skills trade as a profitable career choice.”

“After the competition we have a skills awards night where we celebrate the winners, give them cash prizes and empower them with high value tools and equipment to support their business. We also link them to jobs.”

“After the iCreate Fest, we have designed a digital platform called Skillers, a digital marketplace for hiring artisans and sourcing building materials. Skiller.ng formalizes the process of acquiring and hiring artisans in the construction industry,” he added.

He noted that his organisation plans to build a skills park made up of different structures that promote technical and vocational skills from start to finish. “We want young people to walk into that park without a skill and walk out with a product they created. And we want to achieve that across Nigeria.”

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