BusinessDay

NECA tackles unemployment, skills mismatch with Job fair

The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) is solving Nigeria’s rising youth unemployment rate and skills mismatch through its 2022 Job, Career and employability fair.

This year’s programme, with the theme ‘Promoting Employability, Skills Development and Decent Work’, took place on Wednesday in Lagos in partnership with over 20 companies willing to absorb over 2,000 youths that attended the fair, if they meet the standard.

During his opening remark, Taiwo Adeniyi, the president at NECA said the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the rate of unemployment in the country reaching an alarming rate at 33.3 percent as at the Q4 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistic.

“For us at NECA, rather than complain about the challenges, we have decided to contribute our quote through the support of our member companies and other platforms to continue to create platforms that will help our teaming youths to be gainfully employed while at the same time contribute to the growth and development of organised businesses,” Adeniyi further said.

He also added that to ensure a maximum impact and a wide spread, the job fair will also be held at Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu in the course of this year.

Similarly, Nnamdi Enuah, the state controller at the federal ministry of labour & unemployment who represented its minister noted that bridging the skills gap has been a source of worry to the federal government due to the fact that a lot of the unemployment plaguing the nation is as a result of skills mismatch.

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“But on realizing this situation, the government has inaugurated the skills council under the chairmanship of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to retool both the technical Vocational Education Training, the Digital Skills Entrepreneurship, among others in order to create jobs,” Enuah said while delivering his keynote speech.

He adds, “It might interest you to note that our population of 200 million people has about 65 percent young persons, out of which young girls account for 40 percent. So there is an urgent need to give them not just education but also one vocational or the other.”

The country’s current unemployment rate is producing devastating consequences such as increasing rising criminality, an exodus of skilled and unskilled workforce and worsening poverty.

And the rate is projected to increase further by seven percentage points to 40 percent by the end of 2021, according to the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).

This year’s theme aligns with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal eight that talks about promoting sustained, inclusive economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all by the year 2030, said Shakiru Lawal, the country human resources manager at Nestle.

“I want to use this opportunity to appreciate NECA for always keeping in touch with the thoughts and priority of the nation and industries in all advocacy and stakeholder engagements,” Lawal expressed.

Apart from appreciating the association, he also talked about the Nestle Youth Employability programme, a commitment to put young people at the heart of the company’s future. “It is an investment in talent and skills of the future.”

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